Parked jet has overstayed its welcome

2013-03-17T15:00:00Z 2013-05-25T10:28:08Z Parked jet has overstayed its welcomeBy MATT OLBERDING / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

The jet landed in Lincoln on Sept. 3, 2009, about three hours after leaving John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, Calif.

Three and half years later, the 1981 Canadair CL-600 Challenger is still here. 

Lincoln Airport officials, fed up with having the plane permanently parked on their grounds, are trying to do something about it.

In January, the Airport Authority voted to institute a new policy allowing it to charge a $50 daily fee for any aircraft that sits at the airport for more than a month. Previously, the airport had no rules regarding parking planes.

As of March 1, the airport started charging the plane's owner, Mohave Jet II Inc. of Encino, Calif., $50 a day.

"We will be billing the owner of record at the end of the month, and if they fail to pay within 30 days, we will begin legal action," airport Executive Director John Wood said.

The hope, he said, is for the airport to gain control of the plane to get rid of it.

"We want to be able to say, 'We'll take it,' and part it out or sell it to a junkyard," Wood said.

Now, the white aircraft stands out in an otherwise empty grass field in a back corner of the airport's property.

The plane came to Lincoln to have work done at Duncan Aviation, said Lori Johnson, marketing communications manager for Duncan.

"Due to many unforeseen circumstances, it did not leave at that time. We are now assisting the current owner in removing the aircraft from the airport," she said.

Johnson declined to offer any other details and said she didn't know whether the plane, which has a wingspan of more than 60 feet and can seat as many as 19 people depending on the cabin configuration, is flyable.

A call to a phone number associated with the address listed for Mohave Jet, the owner listed in Federal Aviation Administration records, was not returned.

When the plane came to Lincoln, it was owned by CPH Aircraft LLC, based in Newport Beach, Calif. A message left with that company also wasn't returned.

Wood said he talked to a representative of CPH Aircraft last year, and that person told him the company was trying to make arrangements to get the plane out of Lincoln.

Nothing happened.

David Fisher of Western Aviation in Houston looked up the plane and said it had 8,000 hours on it, no damage history and it was for sale by the owner for $295,000.

Depending on the condition of the engines, he said, it probably would go for $150,000.

"It's a parts-out candidate," Fisher said.

A Google search turned up a few news stories about planes being abandoned at airports in the past few years, and in almost all of those cases planes were alleged to have been involved in criminal activity or were at airports in Third World countries.

A spokesman with the American Association of Airport Executives said he had never heard of a case and that as far as he knew, the issue had never come up among the group's membership.

Wood said that in his career, which has spanned nearly four decades and four airports, he's seen an occasional small airplane left behind, but never one this large.

"This is the first time I think that I've had a corporate jet more or less get abandoned," he said.

Reach Matt Olberding at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

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