Jesse Brinson visits Battle Mountain's abandoned Air Museum

Photos © Jesse Brinson

Jesse Brinson, from High Point, NC, visited this remote location in 2005, at the Battle Mountain Airport in Nevada.
"An inquiry was made at the airport, about this graveyard of aeroplanes and I asked permission to view them. They said: "feel free to look around!".
Battle Mountain is the farthest point of the fire fighting bases in the southwest. We were told that a gentleman tried to start a museum here years ago, but received no help from the local citizens. So what you see is a fine collection of aircraft waiting to be saved...
We got up close and personal with all the aircraft and even went inside the C-119. What a beauty she must have been!"


C-119 N5216R This is Fairchild C-119G Flying Boxcar, of former aerial fire fighting company Hawkins & Powers Aviation Inc.
The C-119G is registered N5216R, at one time airtanker 136 but has here a jetpod installed with number 137 on it. It has construction number 10956 and did service with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), serialled 22131.

There is also an 'N5216R' on display at Greybull,WY (as airtanker 136) but this actually is N3935. More can be read at my Greybull webpage.

Look at that beautiful desert backdrop!
Tanker 137, Fairchild  Packet
Twin boom tail
N5216R C-119 Tanker
Tail of N5216R

Occasionally I get asked who the owner is, for an interest to acquire it...
For many years it wasn't clear to me, except that there was some government hold on it.
In 2018 a new initiative got under way, read all about it on

Photos by Friends & Guests #53
C-119G N5216R in the Nevada desert
The explorer and the C-119
Cargo bay
The cockpit that remains
The cockpit, closer look
Looking forward
Looking backward
The 'crew'
Smoky reading air attack
Hawkins & Powers badge
Fluid Lines instructions

Not much to go on for identification here: no jetpod, the twinbooms on which the tailnumber sat has been removed... Where did all these parts go to? Still, it would make a nice gardenshed...
I did extensive research in the identity of the C-119s here at Battle Mountain; this is former C-119 airtanker T134 (N8832, c/n 10907, ex/ RCAF 22123), which crashed at Battle Mountain in August 1985...
More can be read on my Battle Mountain webpage.

T134 is seen during another, 1981, incident at Fairbanks,AK on John Olin's photos: C-119 Dossier page #4

UPDATE: In Feb.2014 I learned that the remains of N8832/T134 were gone; to the smelter?

At one time the identification of these C-119s proved to be a problem, due to the fact that N5216R had been parked here with a jetpod of another C-119. And then there were misunderstandings about one or two C-119s here...
These photos clearly show 2 C-119 airframes.
Because Hawkins and Powers shifted parts, tailnumbers and airtanker identifications around like there was no tomorrow, there are still C-119s awaiting identification. See my report on Greybull,WY log reports.

See also my C-119 Index page

What it once was...
Cartoon on a door

Trailer, abandoned too


The remainder of aircraft on 'display'

North American F-86K Sabre
McDonnel-Douglas F-4 Phanton

In Nov.2015 received a request for a contact adress with an interest in the F-111:
"I am the interim Director of Museum Operations of an aviation museum on the US West Coast. I am contacting you in regards to some of the displays at the former Battle Mountain Air Museum.
We are interested in the F-111 and would like to know if it may still be available, and if the group or owner theree is interested in having it displayed with us"
Name and contact details known with the Webmaster.

When I checked 25Feb2016, no progress had been made for lack of response.
EMAIL (please state url/link of my relevant webpage please!)

See below 2017 update!

Lockheed T-33
general Dynamics F-111
General Dynamics F-111

Raymond Meyer of the Aerospace Museum of California (in McClellan,CA; site of the closed/former McClellan AFB) wrote me in July 2017
"For some time we have been interested in a number of the aircraft that were located at Battle Mt.
The T-33, F-86 and F-4 are owned by the National Museum of the USAF/NMUSAF @Wright-Patterson AFB,OH. These aircraft have re-located to other aviation museums, affiliated with the NMUSAF.
The F-111 at Battle Mt is still there. Probably the NMUSAF offered it to other museums in its system, but none had the funding to re-locate the aircraft.
As a result, ownership of the aircraft has been transferred to the County of Lander,NV.
We have attempted to contact county officials on the F-111, but have had no response.
Our own F-111 could use some items to enhance its display.

The C-119, with Jet pod 137, is still there. It is not NMUSAF property and you have a better handle on its ownership, if any!"
Alas, I haven't, but I hope one day someone will read this who might be able / willing to disclose the ownership!

The following is from my 'Battle Mountain'-page and was written to me many years ago and offers some insight into the problems of ownership:
"Unfortunately the plane has been tied up in a court case since it was delivered. The case has recently been settled in court, but we have not been given clear title to the plane at this time.
U ntil the USAF Museum system owns the plane we cannot restore it. As for being airworthy, we inspected it when it landed in 1991 and due to the corrosion in the main wing beam we would have not called it airworthy even then."
Michael D. Leister
Director, AMC Museum
Dover AFB DE

McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom
Lockheed T-33


In Oct.2008 work was being done to get the F-86 Sabre taken off the pole and transport it to the aviation museum in Wendover, NV. The other aircraft may follow but apparently the C-119 is too big to get it to Wendover.

Photo courtesy 'WendoverTom' on the Warbird Information Exchange forum (WIX).

Nick Taylor sent me a photo of this F-86 Sabre, not quite on display with that museum yet... HERE..


In Sep.2017 I received the following information from a Lander County official, regarding the two remaining aircraft at Battle Mountain:
"Lander County has released one aircraft (jet) to a non profit museum in Texas. It was picked up this week. The County is currently in the process of releasing the second to a non profit in Alaska ("box car"). It is scheduled for pick up in the spring of 2018."
See my page on Battle Mountain and also my Photos by Friends & Guests #53 for the C-119 Boxcar.
C-119 and F-111 at Battle Mountain
So the F-111 has gone to a museum in Texas(?), but I am wondering who could be the new owner of the C-119?
But by 2008 there would be no more preserved aircraft at Battle Mountain airport, most gone to better pastures.
The C-119 was dismantled during 2019 and supposed to go to Alaska. The F-111, I read on Facebook in July 2020, ended up in Silver Springs,NV. but showed an EF-111 Raven so that can't be correct.


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