Friday, February 13, 2015

For Navy’s C-20A ‘CATBIRD,’ a chance for nine lives

C-20 Final Flight: U.S. Navy Gulfstream III C-20A taxiing after its final flight Feb. 2 from Cahokia, Ill., to Carbondale, Ill., arriving at Southern Illinois University.(U.S. Navy Photo)

NAS Patuxent River February 13, 2015 - A U.S. Navy Gulfstream III C-20A aircraft scheduled for disposal received new life when it was donated Feb. 3 to Southern Illinois University.
The CATBIRD was removed from the Navy’s operational inventory, which marked the end of its flying days and will begin its second life as a part of Carbondale's aviation technologies program at Southern Illinois.
“Donating the aircraft to the university will help build future highly trained technicians to manage hardware, troubleshoot systems and maintain airframe structures,” said Doug Dawson, Tactical Airlift Program Office (PMA-207) program manager, who manages procurement and life-cycle support of Navy-owned commercial derivative aircraft, including the C-20A.
Built in 1982, the donated C-20A aircraft, originally an Air Force executive transport, was transferred to the Navy Reserve in 2004. The aircraft accumulated 17,658 hours and served its final 4,000 hours as a “CATBIRD,” a name for aircraft performing command and control missions for the Navy. The aircraft was primarily used in Europe and Africa, providing logistics support for senior leadership, dignitaries and fleet battle group commanders.
In November 2014, the Navy decided the aircraft was beyond economical repair due to age and degradation. Instead of sending the aircraft to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), in Tucson, Arizona, for deconstruction, Commander, Naval Air Forces Reserve agreed to an alternative arrangement by donating it to aviation academia.


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