Friday, August 15, 2008

Update on the Aircraft Move

from our friend Richard L. Perry, P.E.
Senior Manager, Corporate Engineering Practice
Sandia National Laboratories

Board member Jerry Adams will lead a team of volunteers over the coming weekend to start cleaning the B-29. We need to remove the rather massive amounts of pigeon remains from the aircraft in order to reduce the likelihood of corrosion and preserve the structural integrity of the airframes. After this weekend's activities, we will have a better idea of the extent of the cleaning required.

Worldwide Aircraft Recovery has returned to Nebraska to collect some required tools for the B-52 disassembly and move. They will return in a couple of weeks with towbars and additional trailers for the move.

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History - plane relocation project

This week NM Millwrights used the largest crane in New Mexico (100 ton capacity) to move the Atomic Cannon and Mk17 shape to make room for maneuvering the B-52 so that the wing can be removed. The center section of the Atomic Cannon weighs 110,000 pounds, and the Mk17 weighs 41,000 pounds.

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History - plane relocation project

Board President Chuck Loeber and Project Manager Harry Mumma report that the work to pour the concrete pads on the new museum site for the first aircraft displays (B-52, B-29, A-7, F-105) has begun. WWAR will fabricate the steel stands needed for the displays as part of their contract.

Monday, August 11, 2008

First planes, no trains, now automobiles!

National Museum of Nuclear Science and History - Manhattan Project exhibit

One of the new exhibits for the new museum will be a life size diorama of the Trinity Testing site, enclosed in the Manhattan Project exhibit. This exhibit will be packed with valuable information, but also filled with valuable artifacts! Two of those items are our Atomic Autos. We’ve been lucky to have come across two vehicles that were used by the US military in the 1940’s.

1941 Packard Clipper

1941 Packard Clipper
Parked at the Trinity Testing Site in 1945.

“Ask the man who owns one”

This was the famous slogan that stood for one of the finest automobiles produced in America. It’s no wonder that a 1941 Packard Clipper, converted into a custom limo by Fitzjohn Coach Company, was chosen to transport Manhattan Project Scientists from the railway station in Lamy to Los Alamos. It also carried personnel to the Trinity base camp for the testing of the first atomic bomb. The car was donated to the Museum and requires extensive restoration.

1941 Packard Clipper
Sitting on a flatbed in Albuquerque, NM. Waiting to be restored.

1942 Plymouth Special Deluxe

1942 Plymouth Special Deluxe
Plutonium being unloaded, on the Trinity Testing Site in 1945.

This is the type of vehicle utilized by the US military during the 1940’s. This particular model was the vehicle used to carry the plutonium core for the “device” – the first atomic bomb – to the Trinity site for the historic test that would change the world. This particular model was purchased by the museum to be restored to military function and look for this exhibit.

We were lucky enough to have this vehicle painted by Car Crafters here in Albuquerque, New Mexico - just in time for our annual fundraising event. It was towed to and from the event with the help of Macy's Towing. The annual Einstein Gala was a one of a kind event, partly due to the presence of this beautiful vehicle. All our donors, friends, and volunteers got the pleasure of a vintage photo opportunity with the Plymouth.

1942 Plymouth Special Deluxe
Fresh paint and on display with long time volunteer Dick Justus at the annual National Atomic Museum Einstein Gala fundraising event, March 2008.

More pictures of the Atomic Autos project can be found here.