Peterson Air and Space Museum recovers from hail storm

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Painters work to restore the condition of a Canadian AVRO CF-100 Mark 5C all-weather jet fighter at the 21st Space Wing, Peterson Air and Space Museum on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Nov. 27, 2017. The aircraft was presented to the Peterson AFB museum in May of 1976 to commemorate the U.S. Bicentennial. It was badly damaged during the sixth-worst hail storm in Colorado history in July 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robb Lingley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Painters work to restore the condition of a Canadian AVRO CF-100 Mark 5C all-weather jet fighter at the 21st Space Wing, Peterson Air and Space Museum on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Nov. 27, 2017. The aircraft was presented to the Peterson AFB museum in May of 1976 to commemorate the U.S. Bicentennial. It was badly damaged during the sixth-worst hail storm in Colorado history in July 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robb Lingley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Static display aircraft are being repaired at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, after the sixth worst hail storm in the history of the state in July 2016.

“We’re doing repairs and restorations on our static displays after the horrific storm,” said Jeff Nash, 21st Space Wing, Peterson Air and Space Museum assistant director and curator. “Nearly all of them had varying degrees of damage.”

The museum, an appropriated funds organization, was funded roughly $100,000 from the 21st Space Wing during fiscal year 2017 to repair the static displays with the worst damage.

“In the past the museum has received funding, or quality of life dollars, from Air Force Space Command and United States Northern Command,” Nash added. “A lot of those organizations’ heritage is displayed here, especially USNORTHCOM.”

The primary responsibility for maintaining the museum belongs with the 21st SW. All of the aerospace vehicles displayed at Peterson AFB are on loan and part of the overall United States Air Force collection at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force located at Wright Patterson AFB.

“Per our loan agreement we are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep,” Nash added. “If we want to keep them we have to take care of them.”

Presently the museum has three aircraft that were repaired and two currently being worked on.

Static display refers to an airplane composed of fiberglass and sheet metal that is on display, but not in flyable condition, and not expected to be flown again, just like those around Peterson AFB and at the museum. Static display aircraft are usually not fastened in place when displayed indoors, but are typically bolted down in some way when displayed outdoors.

“What we did following the hail storm was to work with the 21st Contracting Squadron to put together a five year service contract,” said Nash. “Two vendors were chosen to support that contract and as money is made available to us we’ll contact the contractors for the repairs.

“All we have to do when we get money is pick up the phone, contact the vendor, and ask if they’re available to do work on our damaged aircraft,” Nash said. “Ponsford Limited has done a lot of work in Colorado Springs to include the United States Air Force Academy.”

After five years the service contract can be renegotiated and renewed. The contract is not just for repairs on the planes from hail damage, it also covers recurring maintenance. The museum tries to schedule their aircraft to be repainted on a five- to- seven- year cycle.

The museum staff hopes that such a violent hail storm doesn’t happen in the future bringing more damage to the museums displays.

“Sooner or later it will,” said Nash. “It’s only a matter of time and when it does we’ll know how to handle it.”