Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The most vital support beam in this whole project.

This weeks blog post is about our esteemed board president Chuck Loeber. Chuck has worked diligently on this project, but also spent many years working diligently in our field. Chuck is the author of Building the Bombs: A History of the Nuclear Weapons Complex. (which is available in the museum store)

About the Author:

"Charles Loeber worked as an engineer on the design and production of nuclear weapons for more than 40 years. He served in a variety of organizations, including the Department of the Army, the Department of Energy, and Sandia National Laboratories. Over time, his interest in the history of the Nuclear Weapons Complex grew into a hobby, and he became an authority on the subject."

This book is known as being one of the difinitive resources on the topic, being ordered and shipped every day from our store to buyers all over the world.

Take a moment to listen to this great radio interview he did. Scroll down or enter "loeber" in "find a page" to hear his spot on the show.

Resources like Chuck are one of the many reasons that this museum is truly a treasure. We are lucky to have experienced individuals with decades of knowledge as partners, docents, board members, and volunteers. We can't thank them enough, but hope to at least honor them by the creation of this new museum. It will be filled with information and knowledge of fields and topics that they themselves pioneered.

And don't forget to check out our photo page. This project is really moving - thanks to Chuck and his team!

Friday, July 18, 2008

A good looking crew

We'd like to introduce you to the crew of Worldwide Aircraft Recovery. This is the team responsible for relocating eight external exhibits from our former museum location on Kirtland AirForce Base to our new site. As mentioned in the prior post, these exhibits include the B-29, B-52, F-105, and A-7 airplanes along with the Bomarc, Mace, Matador, and Snark cruise missiles. In addition, we plan to relocate a MiG-21 from Tucson, Arizona to our new site.

Ben Nattrass and his team from WWAR arrived at KAFB on Wednesday July 16th, and they immediately began work. The photo shows Ben and his team starting to disassemble the B-29.

If all goes well, they will complete their disassembly work by the end of August and move these exhibits onto our new site in September. They will then reassemble everything.

Big thanks to Ben and his team for taking on this project! The staff, board, and volunteers of the National Atomic Museum can hardly wait to be reunited with our planes and missiles when we move and become the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History next year.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The New Museum Takes Flight!

The National Atomic Museum has contracted with Worldwide Aircraft Recovery Ltd. of Nebraska to move two of its largest artifacts: a B-29 and a B-52 bomber, both of which have been stored at the Museum’s previous location on Kirtland Air Force Base. The planes will be moved in early September, after disassembly.

The planes will be hauled by tractor-trailer 2 miles to the new Museum location at Eubank and Southern Blvds. SE in Albuquerque, adjacent to the Sandia Science and Techology Park and KAFB. The route will take the planes from their current location off of Wyoming Boulevard to the new site, where a new Museum is under construction. The B-29 is expected to be moved first, on a Saturday in early September.

“Moving these significant artifacts represents a huge step toward becoming the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History,” said Jim Walther, Director of the Museum. “We know the public will appreciate having these giants available for viewing. We hear repeatedly how eager people are to see these important historical aircraft.”

The B-29 was a revolutionary aircraft, the first intercontinental bomber. At 70,000 pounds, it was the heaviest production bomber built. Its 135,000 pounds fully loaded required an 8,000-foot runway for takeoff. It could cruise above 30,000 feet, out of range of flak and most enemy fighters.

The Boeing Stratofortress B-52 has been the main long-range heavy bomber of the Strategic Air Command. Affectionately known as the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fella), the B-52 first flew on April 15, 1952. Nearly 750 B-52s were built when production ended in October 1963. On January 18, 1957, three B-52Bs completed the world's first non-stop round-the-world flight by jet aircraft, lasting 45 hours, 19 minutes, with only three aerial refuelings en route. A B-52 also made the first known airborne hydrogen bomb drop over Bikini Atoll on May 21, 1956.

Worldwide Aircraft Recovery Ltd. has provided assistance in a number of projects, including the entire Strategic Air Command Museum and its B-52, B-36, B-58 and an Atlas missile. They will move eight pieces for the Museum: four aircraft and four missiles. In addition to the B-52 and B-29, they will move an F-105 and an A-7 airplane along with the Bomarc, Mace, Matador, and Snark cruise missiles. There are also plans to relocate a MiG-21 from Tucson, Arizona, to the new site.

Photo of exhibits waiting to be moved, currently on display outside the old National Atomic Museum at Kirtland AFB. Photo taken by flickr.com user marz0.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A long dusty road to our new home

First, it was the prairie dogs. Next, came a transient owl. And finally, it was fugitive dust.

Fugitive dust? Yes, dust that is created by preparing our property for the building of a brand-new museum.

But, before grading could start (with a permit requiring us to water down the dust being created), a prairie dog relocation effort was underway. Prairie dogs, it turns out, must be assisted to find new living quarters.

And that transient owl? One day it was gone, presumably on to a new place.

Prairie dogs, owls, and even dust...all making way for our new home. A home that, as of last week, has all of its' steel roof installed.