In the north valley: a first for the Castle Air Museum.
They now have a former soviet-designed fighter jet.
Tuesday, the museum which is located in Atwater in the 5-thousand block of Santa Fe Drive, took delivery of a MiG-21 ” soviet fighter jet.
It’s a throw back the Cold War. That in some ways still seems alive today.
Even now, sitting quietly on a flatbed truck in pieces this MiG-21, with its bright green jet intake looks menacing, dangerous.
“First supersonic Russian built fighter jet of the era,” said Joe Pruzzo, CEO of Castle Air Museum.
Its fuselage says number 2133. But back in the Cold War, no number was needed. This plane symbolized the enemy.
“This is a very significant piece of Cold War history, that was an adversary of our U.S. Air Force fighters and Navy fighters for decades,” Pruzzo said. “This airplane, it’s hard to believe, came out in 19-60 and was produced up until 19-85,” Pruzzo added.
The lineage of this particular plane are traced back to our adversaries from the Warsaw Pact – and eastern block countries.
“Czechoslovakia.. Poland.. Romania built some. We’ve been honored with receiving a MiG-21 from the former Czechoslovakia Air Force,” Pruzzo said.
The plane is a gift from a private owner in the Reno, Nevada area. And it’s a first for the museum.
“This is our first adversarial that the museum has and were very, very elated to have it and show it off,” said Pruzzo.
An adversarial jet from the Cold War now being stored at a base that used to be home for B52 bombers – the very planes MiG’s like this use to target.
The irony of that and the present political Cold War climate isn’t lost on the museum.
“With all the tension with Russia, the former Soviet Union, getting this aircraft here, it’s quite an ironic tie-in if you will timeline wise,” Pruzzo said.
But for now ‘job one’ is to get this MiG back into shape for viewing not fighting.
“It needs to be reassembled, wings put back on, landing gear extended.. Panels put on. And it should be about ready to go out,” Pruzzo said.
Officials at the museum hope to have the plane ready for the public to see by May 28th – which is Open Cockpit Day at the museum.