An airplane for the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation made a pit stop at the Mercer County Airport in Bluefield this afternoon. Timothy Chopp is a veteran for the US Army. He served as an aviation mechanic during the Vietnam era, but now he spends his time behind the wheel of this historic aircraft. “Looking at it, it just looks like an old cargo plane but when they get inside and see the exhibits and the museum they realize it’s a lot more than that,” said Chopp, Aircraft Commander for the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation. That’s right even as a veteran, Timothy is still completing missions. But this time the mission is to educate kids about a lesser known event in history, the Berlin Airlift. “Oh it’s fun. They marvel at the history and of course that’s our purpose, to sustain this history as exactly what happened and what the people in Berlin were willing to do to sustain their freedom this is what the whole Berlin Air Lift was all about,” Chopp added.
This plane is a traveling museum for the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation, a program aimed to educate people about this uncommon event in history. In 1948, the Soviet Union blocked all travel to and from West Berlin which kept the city from receiving any outside supplies. That’s where this aircraft comes in.
This plane was one of the 330 American planes used in the mission to fly in supplies like clothing, water and medicine. “We have been all over the United States with this airplane. We actually took it to Europe in 1998 and we’ve had it in Puerto Rico 3 times all on educational missions about the great Berlin Airlift,” said Chopp. On average, the plane completes 20 to 30 missions a year. Although this aircraft is only at the airport for mechanical work, the commander is looking into visiting the airport again next memorial day to give tours to the public.