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April 20, 2012

Intrepid Museum Unloads Three Warplanes to Clear Room for Space Shuttle Enterprise

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The Scimitar and its distant British and French cousin, Concorde. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum did some spring cleaning on Wednesday to make room for its biggest exhibit yet: the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

Three members of the museum’s spectacular military aircraft collection were moved from the flight deck to the adjacent pier by crane and then loaded onto a barge.

The planes — a Royal Navy Supermarine Scimitar, a US Marine Corps Douglas F3D Skyknight, and a North Korean Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 — will all be transported to the Empire State Aerosciences Museum (ESAM) in Glenville, NY.

All the planes remaining on the flight deck have been rearranged and moved closer together.

So how did the Intrepid curators decide which aircraft didn’t make the cut?

“It was a very difficult decision,” said Eric Boem, Intrepid’s Curator of Aviation and Aircraft Restoration. “We have some aircraft that actually flew from Intrepid, so we didn’t want to get rid of anything that had a connection to the ship. We also have some aircraft that were gifts from foreign governments, such as Italy and Poland, so we want to keep those,” said Boem.

The curator of ESAM, Joe Panoski, on hand to supervise the operation, was excited about the new additions to his collection. “They flew this exact plane out of the GE test facility to test the radar on the F-14,” he said, pointing to the Skyknight. It’s appropriate for the Skyknight to be displayed goes with the MiG-15 because the Skyknight won the first ever nighttime dog fight against a MiG-15, Panoski said.

Enterprise is scheduled to arrive at New York’s JFK International Airport on Monday, April 23. It will remain in a hangar there until June, when the shuttle will be transported to her new home on Intrepid by barge.

First up: The Royal Navy Supermarine Scimitar. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

First up: The Royal Navy Supermarine Scimitar. The crane operator said it weighed 24,000 lbs, making it by far the heaviest plane of the group. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

First flown in the late 1950s, 76 of the Royal Navy Scimitar strike fighters were built, but only three remain in one piece. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

First flown in the late 1950s, 76 of the Royal Navy Scimitar strike fighters were built, but only three remain intact. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

The Scimitar and its distant British and French cousin, Concorde. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

The Scimitar poses next to its distant British and French cousin, Concorde. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

The Korean War-era Douglas F3D Skyknight was next to get the hook. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

The Korean War-era Douglas F3D Skyknight was next to get the hook. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

The Skyknight didn't leave without a fight. It has special hoist points which require a special hook, and that hook required some adjustment before it would line up correctly. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

The Skyknight didn't leave without a fight. It has special hoist points which require a special hook, and that hook required some adjustment before it would line up correctly. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

Up she goes. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

Up she goes! (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

And down she goes! (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

And down she goes! Without engines, the Skyknight weighed only 10,000 lbs, about seven tons lighter than the Scimitar. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

The North Korean MiG-15 gets towed into position for takeoff via crane. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

The North Korean MiG-15 gets towed into position for takeoff via crane. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

The MiG-15 dominated the skies over Korea during the war until the US sent the more evenly-matched F-86 Sabre to the front. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

The MiG-15 dominated the skies over Korea during the war until the US sent the more evenly-matched F-86 Sabre to the front. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

The tail-heavy MiG had weights in the nose to keep it down on display, but immediately tilted back to its tail when some of the weights were removed prior to lifting. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

The tail-heavy MiG had weights in the nose to keep it down on display, but immediately tilted back to its tail when some of the weights were removed prior to lifting. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

The front of the ship will be reserved for Enterprise. Steel beams welded to the deck will anchor an inflatable enclosure which will protect Enterprise from the elements until a permanent home is built across the street. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)

The front of the ship will be reserved for Enterprise. Steel beams welded to the deck will anchor an inflatable enclosure which will protect Enterprise from the elements until a permanent home is built across the street. (Photo by Matt Molnar/NYCAviation)



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