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Helena's EC-121 “Warning Star" is moving to an air museum - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Helena's EC-121 “Warning Star" is moving to an air museum

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The Lockheed EC-121 “Warning Star,” a Cold War-era early warning radar aircraft, has been housed at the airport since 1981. (MTN News photo) The Lockheed EC-121 “Warning Star,” a Cold War-era early warning radar aircraft, has been housed at the airport since 1981. (MTN News photo)

HELENA - A long-standing fixture at Helena Regional Airport is about to get a new home.

The Lockheed EC-121 “Warning Star,” a Cold War-era early warning radar aircraft, has been housed at the airport since 1981.

It was part of the Helena College airframe and powerplant mechanics program.

The Warning Star was built on the airframe of the well-known Lockheed Super Constellation passenger plane, which flew passengers just before the advent of jet air travel.

Both the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy flew the Constellations in their EC-121 roles. The last aircraft was retired from service in 1982.

Now a crew from Nebraska is preparing to disassemble the Constellation and ship it to Atwater, Calif.

Once there, this unique piece of aviation history will be restored and join a fleet of military aircraft on static display at a museum located near the former Castle Air Force Base.

“All of the radar stations and all of the stuff inside the aircraft is as complete as the day it was operational,” said Jeff Wadekamper, Helena Regional Airport director. “There's even still spare parts back in the back of the airplane. So that's the unique ability of this aircraft, that it's so complete.”

Batura says disassembling and loading will take his team about two weeks.

It'll take a caravan of big rigs and trailers to haul the Constellation to California.

Click here to visit the Castle Air Museum website.

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