Years of flying on patrol all over the world couldn’t take the shine off the sleek F-14 Tomcat jet fighter and the A-6 Intruder attack jet on open-air display at Grumman Memorial Park at Calverton.
But the hot sun and the Long Island weather have taken their toll on the jets, which were manufactured at Calverton when Grumman Aircraft was in business, at a site now owned by Riverhead Town.
The Navy gray paint on the airframes is beginning to flake, and town officials were worried that permanent damage might be caused to the planes. And there aren’t a lot of former Grumman workers around who know just how an airplane should be painted.
But on Friday, a group of volunteers from the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City with the requisite knowledge will be coming out to do the work. The town is supplying the paint and power washer, bucket truck and other materials needed to make the U.S. Navy aircraft — they are technically on loan to Riverhead — shipshape again.
The Tomcat made its test flight at Calverton in 1979, and was decommissioned in 1997. It went on public display in 2000 — the only Tomcat to permanently return to its birthplace.
The 1-acre Grumman Memorial Park is on Route 25 in Calverton, just west of the intersection with Route 25A.