ROME, NY (12/10/2010)(readMedia)-- A restored version of one the U.S. Air Force's most renowned combat planes is now on permanent display outside the New York Air National Guard's Eastern Air Defense Sector(EADS) facility here.
Perched on a pedestal 15 feet above a small pond at the facility's southwest edge, the imposing 47-year-old F-4 Phantom jet demands attention.
"The elevated pedestal is a fitting place of honor for an aircraft that served its country for more than four decades," said Col. John Bartholf, EADS Commander. "The display adds to our facility's visual appeal, while reminding the public and our staff of the Air Force's proud history."
Provided to EADS by the Air Force Research Laboratory's Rome Research Site, the plane was restored, re-skinned and re-built in various places by Mohawk Valley Community College's( MVCC) Aviation Training Center, which is located at Griffiss International Airport. After receiving a final coat of paint and three sets of de-militarized air-to-air missiles, the plane was moved to EADS. Transported a little more than one mile across the Griffiss Business and Technology Park by truck, the seven-ton aircraft required a crane to lift it onto the pedestal.
Walter Constantini, the director of MVCC's Airframe and Powerplant Technology program, oversaw the plane's restoration. Constantini said 55 students from three different classes worked on the aircraft and estimated that 4,500 man-hours of work were needed for the restoration.
The classes started work on the plane in October 2009, when it was transported from the Newport, N.Y radar test site to the MVCC's facility. The F-4 had been used for antennae and electronic countermeasures research at Newport since 1972.
The Eastern Air Defense Sector is headquartered at Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome. Staffed by active-duty New York Air National Guardsmen and a Canadian Forces detachment, the unit supports the North American Aerospace Defense Command's (NORAD) integrated warning and attack assessment missions and the U.S. Northern Command's (USNORTHCOM) homeland defense mission. EADS is responsible for air sovereignty and counter-air operations over the eastern United States and directs a variety of assets to defend one million square miles of land and sea.