Hickory – It’s been a year since the US Navy P-3C Orion Submarine Hunter arrived at the Hickory Aviation Museum (HAM) in Hickory NC and opened for visitors to tour. Since then, it’s been a massive year for us welcoming numerous Maritime Patrol Aviation aircrew and squadron personnel to the museum to tour the aircraft as well as the general public who are curious to learn about this airplane they’ve never seen before.
HAM took delivery of the aircraft in the Fall of 2017, it is on loan to us from the Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola FL. Museum personnel then proceeded to ready the aircraft with multiple aircraft washes and interior cleanings as well as ensuring the safety of our visitors by constructing Plexiglas screens for each operator station while ensuring that there is no viewing restrictions. When aircrew walk onboard, the interior is presented as the plane has always looked and it even retains that “P-3 smell” as many have said. The aircraft opened to the public in May 2018 with a two day Open House celebration that was very well attended by the Maritime Patrol Community as well as the residents of Hickory and the surrounding area.
Our P-3C was accepted into service by the US Navy on August 28, 1969. We will be holding a private function after the museum closes on August 23rd for any/all former Maritime Patrol Aviation aviators, maintainers and ground support personnel. On August 24th, we’ll be back open as scheduled at 10:00 am, and welcome the public to come out and meet our guests and learn more about the aircraft from those who flew and maintained it.