Project Charlie 119


Photo Credit: Emily Ostrom

The Atterbury Bakalar Air Museum here in Columbus is a free museum for people to learn about wars between the time of 1942 and 1970. It is a place to honor those who fought in the wars and educate later generations of the events that happened there. Recently, the museum has taken on the task of Project Charlie 119 which is to transport the parts of the historic plane, Charlie 119, to Columbus and rebuild it to put on display.

The plane first started being transported back in March and has since continued to arrive in Columbus. Skip Taylor, leader of the project, tells of the impact COVID-19 has made on the progress of the project.

“The biggest impact of COVID-19 is the shipment of the middle wing section that we call the wing box. It remains in Wyoming. We can’t physically work on any of the components we have,” Taylor said.

The team is still finding ways to continue the project through the COVID-19 crisis, to be ready for when they receive the wing section. They are taking advantage of this unconventional time and are using it to their advantage.

“We are meeting via Zoom and working planning related details so we will be more productive when we are able to begin real work,” Taylor said.

There are different parts of the team working on Project Charlie 119. A co-leadership has been set in place so Taylor can split responsibilities and take time off from the project. Taylor explained his responsibilities of being the leader of the project.

“In this role, I have done meeting management, program scheduling, cost estimating, engineering work, service agreement negotiation, participated in fundraising, and making presentations, not to mention a lot of research,” Taylor said.

Taylor is excited about the plane being stationed here in Columbus because of the value it holds historically. Charlie 119 is a unique opportunity for the Atterbury Bakalar Air Museum.

“It represents that last plane that was stationed at the Bakalar Air Force Base. Our city airport was an air force base until 1970. There were up to 35 C-119’s here at any one time,” Taylor said.

Along with the history this plane represents for the Bakalar Air Force Base, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Columbus’ air museum. Project Charlie 119 provides people with a sense of pride and will be a great way to celebrate the history of the United States Air Force and the role that our city played.