The International Exposition (IX) Center in Cleveland, Ohio is working to add a unique eatery/lounge to the south side of the convention and exhibition hall that will be housed in a Boeing KC-97G Stratofreighter.
The IX Center’s aircraft operated as a tanker with the Ohio Air National Guard from 1963-1968 before being sent to the boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona, where it remained for nearly four decades. It was acquired last year and work is now underway to convert it into a 50-seat restaurant and lounge by 2020.
The machine was dismantled and transported to Cleveland via flatbed truck, where it was reassembled over a 3.5 week period and positioned behind the Center. Although the refueling tanks were removed, almost all of the machine’s original equipment is said to be intact. Deterioration was also found to be minimal due to the dry desert conditions in which it was stored.
The Stratofreighter’s interior design is being handled by industrial artist Mike Ensminger, who will work to bring his vision to fruition while meeting building and electrical codes and keeping the aircraft as historically accurate as possible.
To date, $600,000 has been invested, and it is expected that $500,000 more will be spent to complete the project. Although conversion work is ongoing, the aircraft will make its public debut at the Summit Racing Equipment I-X Piston Powered Auto-Rama from March 16-18, where two pilots will be on hand to share details about the Stratofreighter with visitors.
Check out the videos below to check out the aircraft and learn more about the project.