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  HOME | Latin America (Click here for more)

Former Presidential Plane to Become Aviation Museum in Paraguay

ASUNCION – A Boeing 707 that belonged to defunct flag carrier Lineas Areas Paraguayas (LAP) and served as the official presidential aircraft will be converted into a museum, project organizers told EFE.

“We are going to restore all the sections, paint it like before and the interior will house a museum with photographs, electronic records, everything about the history of Lineas Areas Paraguayas,” said Ariel Caceres, a commercial airplane pilot and the project’s chief organizer.

The 64-ton plane was moved by land from the airport in Asuncion to the city of Loma Grande, where it found a new home at a tourist resort owned by Caceres.

The goal for the jetliner, which LAP acquired from the also defunct Pan American World Airways in 1978, is to turn into a museum honoring the workers who carried the Paraguayan flag to the national carrier’s approximately 20 foreign destinations, Caceres told EFE.

The museum will give the public an idea of what LAP, which was founded in 1963 during the dictatorship of Gen. Alfredo Stroessner and ceased operations in 1994, meant for this small landlocked South American nation, Caceres said.

The plane, which was transferred to the air force following LAP’s bankruptcy, carried President Juan Carlos Wasmosy, who governed Paraguay from 1993-1998, on his various trips.

A variety of groups, including the National Police and state-owned electric utility ANDE, helped move the huge plane from Asuncion to Loma Grande.

The move, which required a year of planning and coordination with the air force, required 24 hours to cover the 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) from the airport in Asuncion to Loma Grande, a city in Cordillera province.

A Uruguayan company was hired to move the plane in an operation that required seven heavy trucks, a crane with a 50-ton capacity and the assistance of National Police and highway patrol officers.

“We did it in 24 hours. We traveled to a certain location and the highway patrol offered us a place to spend the night so we could continue on the trip at sunrise the next day,” Caceres said.

The biggest hurdle that had to be overcome was disconnecting and moving power lines, a job that ANDE linesmen and technicians completed.

 

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