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WWII era airplane to visit airport

By LAUREN LANGLOIS staffwriter@hammondstar.com

Hammond Northshore Regional Airport will get a visit from the first C-47 to drop U.S. troops behind enemy lines in Normandy on D-Day during World War II.

Airport Director David Lobue said the aircraft, called Thats All Brother, will be traveling to Normandy for the 75th anniversary celebration of D-Day. It will make a pit stop in Hammond on March 28. The airplane is operated by the Commemorative Air Force.

He said people will have a chance to tour the aircraft and take a ride in it. Ground tours are $5 per person (for ages 7 and up) and flights are $249 per person. He told the airport authority board about the visit Thursday.

Also at the meeting, Lobue gave an update on the airports master plan. He said the contractor, Michael Baker International, plans to come to Hammond on Thursday to present the rough draft of the document to the airport authority.

The planners will continue working on the master plan, making any changes that are needed after meeting with city and airport officials, he said. From there, the proposed plan will be presented at a public meeting for input.

There is not much development with the airports effort to buy land southeast of the airport on U.S. 190 East. The city wants to buy the property to cut down the trees on it, so the airport can reclaim the displaced threshold of one of its two runways.

The property was appraised to determine how much it would cost to buy it. A $1 million grant through the state will cover most of the cost, with the city covering the remaining amount.

Originally, the property was appraised for $1.1 million. However, a second appraisal was ordered and it came in at $1.3 million. The purchase was put on hold to get an explanation for the state requiring a second appraisal on the about 20-acre property.

Lobue said the state has provided more information about the second appraisal and he hopes to get the purchase in front of the council for consideration before the end of the fiscal year.