Skylancer
Skylancer

WAPAKONETA — The Armstrong Air & Space Museum and Ohio History Connection are preparing for the restoration of the beloved F5D Skylancer airplane that has been a fixture at the museum since it opened on July 20, 1972. The Skylancer was flown by Neil Armstrong during NASA’s Dyna-Soar program.

There was a send-off event for the Skylancer Sunday.

“Ohio’s contribution to America’s aviation and aeronautical history is unparalleled and the Skylancer is a vital symbol of that history and the history of Neil Armstrong’s hometown,” said Burt Logan, executive director and CEO of the Ohio History Connection.

The plane will be restored in anticipation for the 50th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing in 2019. Though it has been painted twice, this will be the artifact’s first restoration. Restoration work will be performed by Thomarios, based in Copley, Ohio, under the direction of the Intermuseum Conservation Association (ICA). The Skylancer’s cockpit and exterior will be restored to when Neil Armstrong flew the plane for NASA in the early 1963.

“The Skylancer is an important part of the Wapakoneta community and we look forward to this integral artifact returning to the museum for the 50th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing in 2019,” said Christopher Burton, executive director of the Armstrong Air & Space Museum.

The restoration is expected to take about a year. The Armstrong Air & Space Museum will announce the return date so that the Wapakoneta community can welcome the Skylancer home.

In 2017, NASA transferred ownership of the Skylancer to the Ohio History Connection, which ensures that the Skylancer will be a permanent part of the Armstrong Air & Space Museum. Before this, the Skylancer had been on long-term loan from NASA since 1972.

About the Skylancer

Only four F5D Skylancers were produced. With only two of the initial F5D Skylancers intact, this is one of the world’s rarest planes. “We are fortunate to have found a local team able to restore this 60-year-old plane so that future generations can experience an experimental aircraft flown by Neil Armstrong,” said Burton. Neil Armstrong flew the Skylancer during the Dyna-Soar Program. Dyna-Soar, or Dynamic Soarer, was a short-lived project to build manned, reusable space planes that predated the manned Mercury flights. Armstrong was instrumental in developing an aborted launch maneuver using the Skylancer.

About Armstrong Air & Space Museum

The Armstrong Air & Space Museum stands as a repository of Ohio’s aeronautical history and a monument to Ohio’s contribution to aviation and space exploration from the early pioneer days through the space shuttle era. See a moon rock, two full-sized aircraft flown by Neil Armstrong, the Gemini VIII space capsule, artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission and more.

About Ohio History Connection

The Armstrong Air & Space Museum is part of the Ohio History Connection’s statewide system of more than 50 historic, natural and archaeological sites across the state. The Ohio History Connection, formerly the Ohio Historical Society, is a statewide history organization with the mission to spark discovery of Ohio’s stories. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization chartered in 1885, the Ohio History Connection carries out history services for Ohio and its citizens focused on preserving and sharing the state’s history. This includes housing the state historic preservation office, the official state archives, local history office and managing sites and museums across Ohio. For more information on programs and events, visit ohiohistory.org.