Bataan Departure

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Douglas MacArthur's former flying headquarters, a Constellation named 'Bataan', has been on static display at Valle airport for over 20 years. Recently acquired for restoration, workers have spent months preparing it for a short flight to Chino, CA, where it will undergo a full restoration before being sent to its new home in Texas. One January 16, 2016, the hard work paid off as all four engines were started and then the plane was fueled in preparation for its short flight. Then, with a small crowd of onlookers, it took off and made a slow circuit of the field before heading West. Seeing it take to the air may be a lifetime event for most of us. Please enjoy the pictures of the event.

Preparing 'Bataan' for its ferry flight. The interior is custom fitted out as the headquarters for Douglas MacArthur. Testing the engines before fueling for flight. Fueling 'Bataan'. Ready for engine start. Engines 3 and 4 (on the far side of the plane) have been started and #2 is starting in a cloud of exhaust. And finally engine 1 is started with a puff of exhaust. All four engines running with the exhaust from the last engine clearing up. Ready to taxi at last, the first time in 22 years! Moving onto the runway. Turning left to go to the end of the runway. A small crowd watches as the engines are tested at full power. People at the Planes of Fame museum in Valle watch as 'Bataan' readies for flight. The Constellation begins its takeoff roll. Speeding down the runway, 'Bataan' begins its departure. In the air again after 22 years! 'Bataan' begins its final circle of Valle airport before departing to Chino. Turning around to make a farewell pass over Valle. South of Valle in the noonday sun. False perspective: Valle's communications tower is a few feet from the photographer while 'Bataan' is much farther away. With one of two chase planes in front, 'Bataan' heads for California.

Images courtesy of Patrick Kelley