EDWARDSVILLE - The famed U.S. Navy A7E Corsair at Robert C. Stille Edwardsville Township Community Park was lowered without a hitch from the display pylon by Keller Construction on Monday.
Keller Construction Co. performed another one of its many good deeds in the Edwardsville community by donating its time to remove the plane to enable restoration to begin.
"I was extremely pleased that Keller Construction Company came back and helped us remove the plane and provided the labor and equipment to be able to do it," Edwardsville Township Supervisor Frank Miles said. "The Keller Company was here when the project started in the beginning and worked with Supervisor Stille to make sure it was positioned safely and they are here to take it down to begin the restoration. They will also come back to position it on the pylon again when the restoration is finished in four to six weeks."
Miles said the lowering went "without a hitch," and now it is time to start the restoration work.
"We lifted the plane up there 20 something years ago, this took a couple of engineers involved and had to have a rigging design and trying to be as safe as possible," Brad Bickhaus of Keller Construction said. "It went well. Keller does a lot for the community and we are proud of donating our services. We are neighbors next door and we are glad to help. It is nice to be able to help out."
Eventually, a tent will cover the plane and it will be fenced off for security. The restoration should take four to six weeks, Miles said, and then it will be placed back on its original place on the display pylon.
Robert C. Stille Edwardsville Township Community Park is located at 6368 Center Grove Road, Edwardsville.
The aircraft has remained on the pylon since it was originally installed in Township Park by Keller Construction in 1991.
In October, Edwardsville Township approved a contract with the Flight Deck Veterans Group, a nationwide nonprofit organization based in Tennessee for the restoration of the historic aircraft on display at Township Park. The Flight Deck Veterans Group restores aircraft as a part of its mission of veterans serving veterans and to pass on the history and legacy of veterans and flight deck operations.