Go west, says a voice from inside the Lincoln Children’s Museum.

A couple of inches this way.

And then another voice: It’s stuck.

It’s 10 a.m. Monday morning, and a crew of six Duncan Aviation mechanics have a 350-pound dilemma.

It’s a Cessna 150. A two-seater they’ve carried down three flights of stairs on its way back to the hangar for a refresh, now wedged halfway out the doors of this P Street playground for kids.

They’ve been at work for more than two hours.

The nose is off. The wings are off. The propeller is leaning on the side of the museum. So is the engine block.

But the airplane that arrived in 2000 when the museum was new, hefted by a crane and through the second floor — glass-free — windows, is not budging.

And a toddler passing by with her mother notices.

“Is that an airplane?” asks Katie Briggs. “What’s it doing?”

It is an airplane, Katie. And it is heading off to get landing and navigation lights, a touched-up paint job, repaired seats and a lower profile. Half a wing will disappear, too, along with the wheels and landing gear, replaced by sturdy peg legs.

The goal is to make space on the third floor for a cafe and still have room for one of the museum’s most popular exhibits, said Tricia Nangkal, marketing director.

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And the turnaround will be quick. The plane is set to return within the month.

But first it has to depart.

The tires come off. Still stuck.

The landing gear comes off. Looks like they have clearance.

“Rotate it like you would a couch,” Les Delka says.

Then he puts it in navigation terms: “Put the airplane in a left roll.”

The plane slips free.

And three hours after the Cessa started its puddle-jumping journey, the crew wheels it onto a trailer.

They’ll return for its missing parts, says Darwin Godemann.

“And redo what we undid.”

Lincoln Children's Museum through the years

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7218 or clangekubick@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @TheRealCLK.



Cindy Lange-Kubick joined the Lincoln Journal Star in 1994 and has loved covering life in her hometown ever since. Will write for chocolate. Or coffee.

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