This Phantom Jet has been on display at the Susanville Municipal Airport since the 90s by way of the National Museum for the United States Air Force. Photo by Jake Hibbitts

City renews dedication to airport displays

Right before approaching the 55 mph zone driving on Highway 395 toward Susanville from the high desert, you’ll catch a glimpse of something out the corner of your eye. Passengers will see the sight of a Phantom Jet as well as a Huey and Cobra Helicopter. But how did they get there?

Every year the City of Susanville signs agreements with the United States Army and Air Force continuing the display of four separate but significant noteworthy sights.

Since 1995 the city has borrowed the Phantom Jet F-4C from the National Museum of the United States Air Force for static display at the Susanville Municipal Airport.

As a condition of the loan, the city must renew the loan agreement on an annual basis providing pictures and proof of insurance. The city covers the jet (valued at $22,000) under its insurance policy and the mayor must sign the agreement.

In late 2001, the city accepted responsibility for the UH-1 Huey Helicopter and in Aug. 2002, did the same for the AH-1 Cobra Helicopter, both through a conditional deed of gift.

Both of the helicopters are on static display at the airport as well. As a condition of the gifting, the city is required to furnish a notarized statement called an Annual Certificate of Army Material Status.

The annual certificate, to be mailed to the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command in Michigan, requires a current photograph to certify that the equipment is still in the possession of the city and is being displayed in the same manner and condition as indicated in the original photograph.

The fourth component was added to the city’s roster in Dec. 2008 and rather than at the airport, is on static display at Memorial Park.

The equipment at the park is a 155 mm, Canon de Grande Puissance Filloux (M1917/18), translating loosely from French as “Canon of great power.”

The GPF was designed during the First World War to meet the urgent need for modern heavy artillery and became the standard heavy field gun of the French army until the Second World War.

It was adopted by the U.S. as the M1917, and a close derivative of it was made in and used by the U.S. as the M1918 through the Second World War hence the M1917/18.

When the city accepted responsibility for the gun it also bore the duty of submitting an annual certification.