OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Aviation Association (OCAA) came forward before the Mayor and City Council this week and requested funds to display a Huey helicopter at the Ocean City airport.
According to OCAA, sometime back the city asked if it was to provide an aircraft display would the OCAA be willing to clean and maintain it. The association eagerly replied, yes.
In September, the Unites States Army offered a donation of a Huey helicopter to the city, but the city was unable to fund the money need to bring it to the airport
“What we’re asking the council to do is review the reasons that prompted the decision to drop the project, and see if there isn’t something that we can do to get the project back on line,” OCAA President Tom Oneto said.
Long-time OCAA member Coleman Bunting explained to the council the helicopter is located in Pennsylvania. He said that if the city would cover the transportation costs, the OCAA would cover the fuel, permits and maintenance costs through fundraising. “It is more then just a display,” Bunting said. “It is a memorial for the Vietnam veterans.”
Director of Public Works Hal Adkins described the transportation process, saying it would involve a tractor trailer, a flat bed, two workers, 200 miles of travel, loading the helicopter, disassembling part of it to make it road worthy, securing permits, transporting it here, unloading it and putting it back together. Currently, there is no storage available, so it would have to cover it in shrink-wrap.
Also, the helicopter would be placed on a pedestal of some sort, requiring a substantial foundation to keep it from tipping over, which involves excavation, form work, concrete, a medal post, grinding, primer, paint, electric, lighting and service. The entire process is estimated to cost around $8,000.
“It is a great piece of artwork, it really is,” Adkins said. “I think it would be really great for the airport.”
However, he added that the $8,000 is not budgeted right now.
Councilman Joe Hall stepped up in support of the display.
“We’ve done this in the past,” he said. “To forward fund your project and take advantage of the opportunity of the current aircraft that has taken three years to become available. Then you [OCAA] will fund and do what you can to cover that cost as the project moves forward.”
Hall put into motion that the city will forward fund $8,000 contributed from the general fund, if the aircraft is still available. The motion passed in a vote of 6-1, with Councilman Doug Cymek in opposition.