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May 9, 2022

Naval air icon may touch down at museum as development crowds Brunswick Landing

military airplane parked on grass Photo / William Hall The Navy's P-2 Neptune patrol plane may move from its post at Brunswick Landing to an aviation museum about a half mile away.

For over half a century, an aging aircraft has stood watch at an entrance to what is now Brunswick Landing — but may soon redeploy, crowded out by development in the business campus.

The Lockheed P-2 Neptune, a twin-engine Navy plane that flew anti-submarine patrols from Brunswick during the 1960s, now occupies a patch of grass along Admiral Fitch Avenue and behind a neighboring shopping mall. The 102-foot wingspan nearly overshadows the roadway.

The plane has been grounded on this spot since 1970, serving as an icon to generations of Maine aviators and more recently as a nod to the history of Naval Air Station Brunswick, now the home of 3,200-acre Brunswick Landing.

But commercial development of the park is beginning to encroach on the P-2. More than 150 businesses have moved to Brunswick Landing in the past decade, and lots near the Neptune are up for sale and actively being marketed. Fifty-three Maine winters have also taken their toll on the plane’s fuselage and general appearance.

So a group of volunteers, Navy veterans and members of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority — which oversees Brunswick Landing — are working to move the P-2. About a half a mile down the road, at an existing memorial park near the Brunswick Naval Aviation Museum, the group plans to restore the aircraft.

The plane will also have good company, sharing the grounds with another, the P-2 model’s successor, the Lockheed P-3 Orion.

The group last week launched a $150,000 crowdfunding campaign to pay for the restoration and move, which will be “detailed and very involved,” according to the fundraising page.

“Workarounds need to be taken because of changing streets, trees, electrical poles and wires. The wings and vertical stabilizer need to be removed using slings and cranes. The new home within the P-3 Park needs to be excavated to remove the slope in the land,” the group said.

The Neptune is on loan from the U.S. Navy, and MRRA is the plane’s custodian.

“With the Gold Star Memorial Garden and the Lockheed P-3 Orion, [the P-2] will be restored to its original glory, worthy of continuous and dedicated service,” the group said.

By Monday morning, only a few thousand dollars have been raised, according to the website. For more information, click here.

Photo / William Hall
The exterior of the P-2 patrol plane shows a need for repair and restoration.
Photo / William Hall
Since 1970, this Lockheed P-2 Neptune has stood at the entrance to what is now Brunswick Landing.


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