A piece of aviation history, a Lockheed C121A Constelation aircraft known as N442NA “Bataan”, has been undergoing a complete restoration at the Chino Airport. According to Pete Blood, the project manager for Fighter Rebuilders, early next month the aircraft will be relocated to Threshold Aviation Group, also at the Chino Airport, so the delicate restoration and assembly can continue in a clean and safe environment.
Threshold was recently awarded additional hangar space from the County of San Bernardino through an open-bid process. The promise of this additional hangar space has allowed Threshold to support the Bataan renovation by freeing up space in its multiple hangar complex.
“Restoring the Constellation “Bataan” is an important mission as it has tremendous prominence and historical value,” said Mark DiLullo owner and CEO of Threshold Aviation Group. “In that regard, we are accommodating the Bataan project even though we are short on the needed hangar space. The sooner we are able to take occupancy of Hangar 2 – the smoother this transition and accommodation will be.”
The aircraft, built in 1947, was initially used by US Military Airlift Command. The plane was named “Bataan” by General Douglas MacArthur after the notorious Philippines Peninsula where much suffering by the Allied armed forces during World War II took place. This aircraft and her crew were used to ferry General MacArthur all over Korea and back to the United States for MacArthur’s final flight. After which the General was removed as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers by then President Harry Truman in 1951.
The aircraft continued its life in service through the end of the Korean War and beyond, being utilized by NASA to set up part of the satellite tracking systems for the space program. Some twenty years later the plane found a home base at the Planes of Fame Air Museum facility located at Valli Airport in Arizona.
After being acquired by Lewis Air Legends, the plane once again graced the American skies on January 14th, 2016, en route from Valli Airport to Fighter Rebuilders, located next to the Planes of Fame Air Museum facility in Chino, California.
“The restoration is a complete overhaul and reconstruction of the plane,” according to Vince Sossa and Paul Panther, who are managing the project for Lewis Air Legends.
“The Bataan is in the process of being reassembled and the refurbished parts that we need to put it back together are starting to arrive,” said Paul Panther. “We badly needed hangar space to move the plane inside where we can work on it in safe and more livable conditions. Our many thanks to Mark and his team at Threshold for making this work.”
Up to this point the plane has been parked outside.
“Obviously, we want to move this process along quickly so that we can get this important piece of history inside a more permanent hangar space where it can complete the current phase of the restoration in a proper environment,” said DiLullo. “The project also brings a significant financial benefit to the San Bernardino County’s economy as it sources local workers and aviation suppliers.”