The Fairfield Inn is still there, and there are many more hotels around it too – now lots of people can watch Beech Field.
If you want the full story of the Starship, try reading about it on Bob Scherer’s site at http://bobscherer.com/Pages/Starship%20FAQ.htm and you can learn a lot there. Also, check out Youtube…there is a video of a History Channel show that recently aired, and the Starship was a focus for one of its vignettes. You can find it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0LpX0qg9S4.
As for the pics of NC-35, I have a few that I can post, but forgive my ignorance, but how do I post from my computer as opposed to a website? All of these pics are stored on my hardrive and not on a website.
The story on NC-35 is probably the most interesting of the lot of them. NC-35 is the Starship that is part of the only accident of record for the fleet. A pilot in Denmark tried taking off in an ice storm, and needless to say, the Starship didn’t fly too well at 50’ AGL, and came back down to Mother Earth. The bird was repaired and back flying in roughly 6 months.
NC-35 was then misappropriated several years later. In September 2001, right before Sept. 11, the aircraft was flown to Tampico, MX. Customs asked for documentation, and the pilot failed to produce any, and in fact never came back. The Tampico Customs Authority seized the aircraft, and then it transfered to the Mexican Tax Authority. Raytheon tried to get the aircraft back since they were the financier of the plane, but to no avail. Raytheon then turned in a loss to their insurance company, and was subsequently paid. The insurance company has owned the plane since, and has tried in vain to sell it. The problem is that they haven’t done anything to protect the asset. It has sat outside for the last 6 years with no protection for the engines, frame, windows, and avionics (in fact, someone has ransacked 10 of the 16 tubes in the panel). Mexican authorities last month tried to sell the plane at a Government Seized Assets auction, but they do not have clear title to the aircraft.
It will be interesting to see how it all ends up. The insurance company was asking for $500,000, and the Mexican authorities want $140,000. The pilot who stole it wants $50,000 for return of the logbooks and certificates.
After talking with someone who could restore this aircraft, it would take between $1.3 and 1.5MM and take about a year and a half to do.