Barron faces end-of-year deadline

Mike Barron has restored and returned four of his seven Grumman Albatrosses to Northeast Missouri.

Barron's seven Albatrosses likely represent the largest group of privately-owned Albatrosses in the United States. The planes extend to 65 feet long with a wingspan of 100 feet, yet are capable of landing on water or land. They were slated to be chopped up and recycled when Barron was offered the chance to buy them.

Robin Carroll, the fixed base operator at Hannibal Regional Airport, told the city's Airport Advisory Board during Thursday morning's meeting that Barron would soon be on his way back to the Arizona aircraft "bone yard" to prepare the fifth plane for the flight back.

Carroll said that Barron, owner and operator of Barron Aviation Private Flight Services at the Hannibal airport, is hopeful of returning two of the king-sized, twin-radial aircraft before the end of October.

Over a year ago Barron took ownership of the rare planes, which had been parked in the Arizona desert since 1986. Initially Barron was given until July 2018 to remove the planes, but earlier this year, he negotiated a deadline extension through the end of the year.

Barron and his son, Dillon, landed the first Albatross in Hannibal on May 2, months later than initially anticipated. Carroll announced the arrival of the fourth plane, named Joker, in an Oct. 1 post on Facebook.

The planes’ large size cause Barron to keep the aircraft at his grass airstrip in Perry. Because none of the Albatrosses waiting in Arizona is fully equipped, the process of removing their engines and props will begin almost as soon as Barron can get the planes to Perry. Those items are then trucked back to the desert airport, located outside of Tucson, where they are attached to another Albatross.