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Museum opens vintage aircraft Saturday

Boeing B-29-55-MO "Superfortress"

Boeing B-29-55-MO "Superfortress"

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, UT -- For anyone looking to get an up-close and personal look at some of the most exceptional planes in military history, all they have to do is find a can of food.

On Saturday, Sept. 22, the Hill Aerospace Museum will host its annual Food for Life and Open Aircraft Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors to the museum who bring one can of food or other non-perishable food items, will be able to sit in the cockpit of 20-plus of the nation's most historic planes, such as the C-7 Caribou, the F-111 Aardvark, the A-10 Warthog, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, and the C-130 Hercules.

Open Aircraft Day began 14 years ago as a way to generate public interest in the museum. Over the years, it has evolved into the multi-purpose event it is today, generating interest and appreciation for the museum, but also helping out the local community. This year's event ends a week in which the Air Force celebrated its 60th birthday Sept. 18.

"We came up with this idea as a way to show the public what the museum has and what the Air Force has been involved in all these years," said Deloy Spencer, a museum volunteer coordinator, who has been with the museum since 1987. "The original purpose was to show the airplanes and then we decided maybe it would be a good idea to raise a little food and give it away for the needy."

Last year's Open Aircraft Day attracted more than 3,500 people and the food was donated to Your Community Connection, a battered women's and children's center located in Ogden. "The YCC is a great place for us to help out," said Carol Harris, a museum volunteer coordinator. "They house women and children and find jobs for the women and help to get the children placed in child care and things of that nature. They are always very grateful."

The Open Aircraft Day event would not be possible if it weren't for the many volunteers at the museum that dedicate their time.

"We have some people who have dedicated literally their second life to this place," Mr. Spencer said. "We have volunteers here from every skill in the world. We have a retired doctor, a retired dentist, retired school teachers, retired aircraft mechanics, airline pilots, military, you name it; these guys have been there and done it."
Open Aircraft Day is open to the general public and access to the museum is free and does not require a gate pass.

"We just want people to come in and enjoy the planes," Mr. Spencer said. "The museum is the picture of the Air Force. People can come in here and see what the Air Force has done for the last 60 years."

For more information on Open Aircraft Day, or to find out how to volunteer, call 777-6818.