R. Baker & Son was hired to lift a T-38 Supersonic Jet onto flight deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum using rented MODULIFT® MOD24 spreader beams and Lift-All polyester round slings from Lifting Gear Hire.
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum hired R. Baker & Son, a rigging and demolition contractor in New Jersey, to perform the daunting task of lifting a 7,200 pound Northrop T-38 Supersonic Jet onto the flight deck of the floating museum itself. The iconic white jet was used as a flight-test chase plane to test the reaction skills of astronauts in training during the crucial Approach and Landing Tests that were carried out in 1977 by the space shuttle orbiter, Enterprise. The shuttle is currently on display in the Space Shuttle Pavilion and the jet was going to be placed directly beside it. The NASA jet was donated to the museum, among 15 to 20 additional aircraft that the museum currently has aboard it’s deck including planes from World War II and Vietnam.
“They have a bunch of stuff that we lifted for them up there,” TJ Inderwies, the Project Manager of R. Baker & Son said. “We’ve lifted almost every plane except the space shuttle and the Concord. So, we’re quite used to these types of jobs. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t challenging, nonetheless.”
The challenges involved were many. With a one-day turnaround, TJ and his workers had a delicate job to do in a short amount of time. The most challenging aspect came in the form of not damaging the plane in any way, shape, or form and to keep it level throughout the lift. This became a tad bit challenging to accomplish since wind conditions worsened as the day progressed.
“The biggest concern was simply keeping it level,” TJ continued. “Plus, there’s also really no picking points on this plane at all for the slings. Not to mention, we needed a proper crane to set it where they wanted it to be set. It’s an aircraft carrier, and although we were over water, it was still a decent reach to get the jet up there. We needed to lift it about 75-80 feet.”
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