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Monday, Apr 22, 2024

Jet Fighter Lands at Museum

An F-18 Hornet jet fighter has been brought down to earth thanks to LA ProPoint, a Sun Valley manufacturer and fabricator of stage and show systems. The company last month installed the Hornet atop a 15-foot steel pylon at the California Science Center, where it has put up several other aircraft and spacecraft exhibits. “It is one of our niche markets,” said Mark Riddlesperger, president of the company, which more typically handles rigging for live music and theater performances. “This is cool stuff.” An F-20 Tigershark fighter and a T-38 Talon training jet that hang in the main lobby of the Exposition Park center also are the work of LA ProPoint, as are Apollo and Mercury space capsules on the mezzanine level. The company also is consulting on the permanent display of the Space Shuttle Endeavour to be built at the center. The Boeing Co. Hornet is on loan from the U.S. Navy and is the first naval aircraft the center has on display. Formerly part of a museum exhibit in Utah, the plane was shipped to LA ProPoint’s San Fernando Valley facility on a flatbed truck. Over a period of two months, staff refurbished the jet with body work and painting. Meanwhile, Frize Corp., a City of Industry general contractor, poured 70,000 pounds of concrete to make the base for the pylon. The finished plane was brought by flatbed for a Sept. 12 installation, which required a crane to hoist the 16,000-pound jet onto the pylon. The center spent $120,000 on the exhibit. “Designing the pylon to meet seismic standards so it doesn’t come crashing down in case of a quake was a challenge,” said Dennis Jenkins, the Science Center’s project director. – Mark R. Madler

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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