A rare F-82 Twin Mustang that has long been operated by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) is now being dismantled in Midland, Texas, for shipping to the National Museum of the Air Force (USAFM) in Dayton, Ohio. CAF has operated the airplane since the 1960s, but its right to do so has been in dispute since 2002, when the CAF said it was going to trade the airplane and the Air Force said it couldn't. A judge ruled in September that the Air Force owns the airplane, but the CAF has been pursuing an appeal. This week, the CAF said it had offered to drop the appeal if the Air Force would allow the F-82 to remain on static display in Midland, but that proposal was rejected, leaving the CAF no choice but to hand over the airplane. "I had great hopes that this would be an amicable way to agree to disagree, yet still concede to the USAFM's policy to not fly the F-82, which has supposedly been their concern," said Stephan Brown, president and CEO of the CAF. "This decision to reject our proposal is confusing and disappointing."
The response to the CAF proposal by the director of Air Force History and Museum Policies and Programs states: "After a robust and thorough discussion, the voting members of the Heritage Board unanimously decided that, based on the history of this matter and the precedential import of the judicial determination concerning the ownership of the F-82 to the National Museum of the United States Air Force and the other Armed Services, the offer of settlement could not be accepted." Brown said the CAF will now move forward with the appeal process. "The appeal is a de novo review, in which the appellate court is not bound by the trial court, but reviews the entire case," said Brown. "We are hopeful that the appellate authority will see things differently."