He said the Super Sabre Society had contacted him last fall “to get the ball rolling on an idea to have the Super Sabre Museum here in Gilmer as part of the Flight of the Phoenix Aviation Museum.”
He said that thus far there has been an agreement between the City of Gilmer, the Gilmer Airport Advisory Board, the FOTPAM, and the Friends of the Super Sabre to move forward with the project.
“The airport advisory board approved the site at Fox Stephens Field where we plan to locate the out door display,” Dean said.
He said he had discussed with others the possibility of the museum obtaining additional staff, curatorial, and restoration space in the vacant work space joining the north end of the JL Aero maintenance shop. The building is owned by the Gilmer Industrial Foundation.
“This will provide necessary work space for volunteer staff and records to support the Super Sabre project. I am working on a proposal to the Gilmer Industrial Foundation to obtain their approval to grant the space to the FOTPAM.
“The completed effort could become a wonderful tourist and visitor attraction to Gilmer and the area,” Dean said. “It will no doubt become a viable economic development contributor as well.”
The Gilmer City Council voted to make application to the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base to have the Flight of the Phoenix Aviation Museum designated and qualified to act on behalf of the city as curator of the F-100 aircraft that will ultimately be on loan to the City of Gilmer from the Department of Defense.
He said he was advised recently by the Air Force Museum Coordinator that the City of Gilmer application process has been accepted as complete, and has been tentatively approved.
“The first airframe that we anticipate acquiring is already identified and is in storage at the Air Force Bone Yard at Davis Monthan AFB, Ariz.,” Dean said.
“We already have volunteers lined up to bring the aircraft to Gilmer,” he said.
Dean said that Rex Morris of Gilmer is a combat veteran of the F100 Super Sabre, where he served as one of the elite Misty FAC pilots in Southeast Asia.
In an e-mail, Bob Dunham, who flew the F-100, said that “From 1953 until the last F-100s were flown in the target role around 1998, the airplane served as the backbone of air power for America across the globe. In the Cold War, hundreds of F-100s sat Nuclear Alert from the Far East all the way to the Middle East.”
He said the plane was originally designed as an interceptor and air-to-air fighter, and “it was about as adaptable as any airplane America has produced.”
More information on the highly regarded plane is available at the Super Sabre Society’s web site, www.supersabresociety.com.
In an e-mail, Anne Coleman said that her and her husband Joe learned about the Flight of the Phoenix Aviation Museum in Gilmer at a Super Sabre Society reunion in Las Vegas, Nev.
She said Gilmer is a “perfect location for such a museum. It’s centrally located in the United States, easy to access and for teaching purposes, the airport in Gilmer is large enough for personal aircraft to use to visit and participate in the activities there.”
She said the plan is for the museum to be the only one to house all five models of the F-100, as well as a great deal of memorabilia.
She praised Dean and Gilmer city officials for supporting the venture.