WAPAKONETA — Auglaize County residents will be sharing the roadway Monday afternoon as the Armstrong Air & Space Museum transports their historic Learjet 28 Longhorn to its final home on the southwest corner of the museum grounds.
The jet’s final move has been a project two years in the making since its arrival on Aug. 5, 2020.
If weather conditions favor the move, transportation crews will begin prepping the aircraft for ground transport beginning at 8 a.m. at Neil Armstrong Airport in New Knoxville. Because of the size of the craft and wings, the jet is partially disassembled and will be transported on two flatbed trucks provided by Sandy’s Towing, based in Dayton.
The current transportation route calls for the jet to travel eastbound on State Route 219 and then make a left turn onto Kettlersville Road. Heading northbound for 4.5 miles, the craft will then turn right onto County Road 33A towards Wapakoneta. Crews will take the onramp for U.S. 33 and travel along the highway, passing under Interstate 75 and then turning left onto Cemetery Road. Finally, the craft will take a left turn onto Bellefontaine Street where it will make its final approach to Apollo Drive.
Once at the museum, the transportation crew will use a crane to place the jet on top of the viewing pedestal. Spectra-Jet, the company tasked with decommissioning and reassembly will then begin reattaching the wings and add the finishing touches to the craft.
“Residents and guests are encouraged to come out and watch,” Armstrong Museum Executive Director Dante Centuori said. “The museum will have a dedicated viewing area for people to safely watch from a distance. However, the area is active with crew members working on the project, so we kindly ask the spectators stay behind the perimeter set up for viewing.”
The exact time of transportation is not set, but museum officials estimate the move to take place somewhere between noon and 2 p.m. Crews will be working on the craft afterwards for much of the afternoon and part of the evening as well. If weather conditions prove unfavorable for the transportation on Monday, museum officials will reschedule the move for Tuesday with the same timetable. The museum will give updates on transportation progress via social media throughout the day.