Butte kids help restore historic plane

Posted at 5:02 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 10:27:21-05

BUTTE - “I should get a job as a painter, dad,” the teen said.

“It’s fun actually,” said his dad.

“It is!”

It’s even more fun when you’re putting a new coat of paint on an old jet fighter.

It’s a little more challenging than painting an old fence.

"Getting in the small crevasses, getting up in there, and probably not getting too many drips,” said Heather Hood of the Butte Civil Air Patrol.

Members of Butte’s Civil Air Patrol and the Boys and Cubs Scouts of America volunteered their time recently to repaint the time-worn F-86 Sabre Jet on display in front of the Bert Mooney Airport in Butte.

The F-86 was used during the Korean War.

“The MiGs were a little bit outperforming our earliest jet fighter, so this was developed to give a little more competition to those MiGs and it did very well,” said Civil Air Patrol Officer Walter McIntosh.

Cadet Rebekah Miller really likes the plane: “It’s cool, I like any type of airplane, being around any type of aviation or plane, it’s cool. Kind of a happy place.”

The plane was gifted to Butte in 1961 and needs plenty of work to restore it.

“And for the youth to contribute back to the community and really have some ownership and be proud of their community and the jet and the airport,” said McIntosh.

The restoration of the old jet fighter is just a part of many improvements that have been going on at the airport, including a new sign.

“It’s going to be proud and also, I did that, you know—people will be, ‘Oh, Butte painted that thing,’ and I’ll be like, ‘Yeah, I helped with that.’ And I can tell kids and other family members and stuff,” said Miller.