Where it all began: Museum of Aviation’s Hangar One celebrates a quarter century

  • Published
  • By Angela Woolen
  • Robins Public Affairs
What was once used to store paint at Robins now houses Vietnam-era aircraft. Hangar One was acquired in 1991 from the base and celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Museum of Aviation this month.

"We got lucky," said Bill Paul, collections manager. "There was an old warehouse at Robins and our volunteers disassembled it and brought it here." 

Built for the base in the 1960s, the dozen or more aircraft, vehicles, engines and more now inside Hangar One have nearly filled it to the brim. Only one more aircraft will go into the building, retired Maj. Gen. Rick Goddard's F-100 which is currently being renovated.

This was the first museum building to house aircraft and the second building onsite. The first structure was what is called the Heritage Building which is where the museum offices were.

"A lot of our retirement ceremonies are done in there," said Paul.

One of the aircraft lucky enough to call Hangar One home is the F-105D brought to the museum April 19, 2010.

"We saved it from the scrapper's torch. We sort of rescued it," Paul said.

After contacting the crew chief, the restoration department at the museum painted and returned the Thunderchief exactly as it looked during the war.

The plane saw action multiple times and was also shot up in a few instances as well. The plane was almost destined for the junkyard after a crash, while with a reserve unit, tore the nose gear off and buried the wingtip three-feet deep in the dirt. The unit rebuilt the aircraft for 18 months and then continued flying it, Paul said.

Some of the planes that were first stored in the hangar were the Cessna L-19A 0-1E Bird Dog, the PT-17 - now in the Eagle Building - and the F-4D Phantom II.

The building used to house an assortment of airplanes but became a dedicated Vietnam building in the last couple of years.

"We have some significant aircraft, some with real Vietnam history," Paul said.