EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) – Touchdown of two fighter jets sparked excitement Thursday afternoon as a local air and space museum is preparing for a major event.
While the National Guard conducted training exercises nearby two F-16 fighter jets - similar in style but completely unrelated - landed at the Eugene Airport Thursday afternoon, July 19. The jets are on loan from Tulsa, Oklahoma for the Oregon Air and Space Museum’s Oregon Air Fair this weekend.
Colonel Joe Abbott, who just retired from the Air Force, flew the F-16 while on active duty. Fifteen years ago, the South Eugene High School graduate flew the F-16 in the Oregon Air Fair. Abbott says he’s glad to see the plane back in Eugene.
"It's really neat that fifteen years later we're still flying them. I consider it the best fighter in the world,” said Abbott. “This weekend is a great opportunity to see a lot of different kinds of aviation [aircraft]."
“They only do this every few years and it helps this volunteer non-profit organization with their operating budget for the future, the coming years. They contribute a lot to education in the area with this museum,” continued the retired pilot.
The F-16 is made by General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin, making its active duty debut in 1978. Each F-16 costs between $14 and 18 million; more than 4,500 have been built for the United States armed forces. Most recently, the F-16 flew missions in Libya to enforce a no-fly zone.
Two more F-16s are scheduled to arrive on Friday, along with a Douglas A-26 Invader bomber.
These planes and many others will be on display this weekend at the Oregon Air Fair starting at 10 AM Saturday, July 21st at the Oregon Air & Space Museum on Boeing Drive at the Eugene Airport. Other attractions include a display of WWII-era military vehicles, a US Coast Guard helicopter with a search-and-rescue aerial display and other former military aircraft.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children and $30 for families with at least two children. For more information, call the Oregon Air & Space Museum at 541 461-1101.