Houston & Peach

Robins crew completes tricky trip to get F-15 to City Hall

WARNER ROBINS -- Some Robins Air Force Base airmen had their problem-solving skills put to the test Saturday.

A crew of five airmen from the 116th Air Control Wing towed a decommissioned F-15 Eagle from the base to City Hall, where it will be part of a veteran’s memorial.

Airmen have many times moved planes down Ga. 247 to the Museum of Aviation, but taking the right turn onto Watson Boulevard proved to bring a whole new set of challenges.

“It was a little stressful at times, but I had a really good crew with me,” said Master Sgt. Ryan Page after they got the plane to its final resting place.

They had already scoped out the route several times and knew going in that crossing the train tracks was going to be tricky. That’s because the plane’s tail section was too high to go under the overhead beams of the crossing light. They had to make an S turn through the beams, but the wings were blocked by a tree and a street light.

Airmen were able to push back a tree just enough to get the wing past, then got by the lamp pole after unhooking the tow bar several times to re-position it and the tow truck. Northfolk Southern was notified of the move and shut down its trains.

It wasn’t exactly smooth sailing from there. A city worker pushed some of the power lines up to get the plane under them, and the crew had to make another S turn through overhanging street lights..

While the 116th now works with the 461st Air Control Wing to fly the J-STARS, it had once been an F-15 unit before moving to Robins.

It brought the F-15 that went to City Hall with it, and kept it in storage for years. The 402nd Maintenance Wing put a new paint job on it.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.