6:27 PM

More on the VNY story

Last night I sent out requests all over the place asking for an official response to the story about the B-25 "Heavenly Body" being evicted from Van Nuys Airport. These requests bore fruit today when I received an email for publication from Richard French of Van Nuys Airport Public & Community Relations.

What follows below is a verbatim response from LAWA via French's email:

LAWA/airport management has no plans to ask any owners of propeller aircraft, including the B-25, to remove their aircraft from the airport. These aircraft merely have to be moved around or relocated on airport property to accommodate various leasehold and property improvements that are on the horizon.
He also sent me this background document for publication on the B-25 relocation issue:
RELOCATION OF B-25 BOMBER
AT VAN NUYS AIRPORT
Due to an upcoming redevelopment project by a Van Nuys Airport (VNY) tenant, the historic B-25J Mitchell Bomber “Heavenly Body” will be displaced from its current hangar location at VNY. It is a condition of the redevelopment project that the tenant help coordinate moving the B-25 to an interim airport location pending completion of the VNY Propeller Park project as a possible permanent home for the aircraft. The Propeller Park is a 30-acre site that was formerly occupied by the Air National Guard and will be developed into an aviation center and area dedicated to propeller aircraft.

The B-25 has been based at VNY for over three decades and enjoyed a beneficially low lease rate established with a VNY tenant. VNY leases parcels of land to tenants with multiple aircraft; it does not lease to individual aircraft owners. The aircraft is currently housed in a hangar of approximately 10,000 square feet. This hangar is not easily portable and is scheduled for demolition. The aircraft owner also stores a vintage half-track, jeep, tug and other items in the hangar. According to the tenant’s lease terms, the owner is required to pay the City of Los Angeles a cost equal to fair market value of the improvements prior to demolition.

The aircraft owner has several options from which to choose: 1) relocate the aircraft to another hangar facility at VNY; 2) relocate the aircraft to a hangar facility at another local airport; and 3) relocate the aircraft to an open air tie-down area at VNY or another local airport. As with all other aircraft owners at VNY, the owner of the B-25 must negotiate the terms of a lease with a tenant.

Los Angeles World Airports is committed to preserving historic aircraft at VNY. While VNY has no direct control over the rental rates set by master leaseholders for individual subtenants, staff is calling upon the airport community to help determine all feasible options for the aircraft to be successfully relocated at VNY. Airport staff has worked diligently to research available hangars, rates and comparable facilities at VNY and other local airports with the purpose of relocating the aircraft temporarily while work continues with development of the future VNY Propeller Park.
Again, this is all presented without editing, verbatim as I received it. Since I am coming late to this party, I am not going to take sides or comment – yet – on what this all means. I hope to have the "official" response from the B-25 guys shortly to get the other side of this story.

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