Historic Jet Lands Smoothly in NH’s McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center


Honoring NH Astronaut & Space Pioneer Alan Shepard

Wrapping up the year with a very special move…when Concord NH’s McAuliffe – Shepard Discovery Center found itself as the new home to a Supersonic Jet, the same model flown by Alan Shepard as a test pilot, there was only one thing left to do: figure out how to get it to NH & inside the Discovery Center. That’s when Louis P. Cote, Inc. got the call and put together a plan to get it unloaded & inside the museum safely. The jet is a 1956 XF8U-2 Crusader Jet. One of only two models of jets in the 1950’s that was able to break the sound barrier. It was also used for photo reconnaissance during the Cuban Missile Crisis and also saw action in the Vietnam war.

To bring the jet in a large section of the museum’s wall was removed. Using a 110 ton crane the plane was hoisted off the transport and, tail section first, was gently maneuvered into the building. While speeds of 1000 miles per hour were once achieved by this jet the final leg of its journey was substantially slower as it was slowly towed into place using a forklift.

The Crusader jet pilot, Derry NH native Alan Shepard went from being a Navy test pilot in the 1950’s to becoming the first American in space on May 5, 1961. In 1971 he traveled to the moon as commander of the Apollo 14 mission. We are proud of our role in creating a lasting tribute to this legendary American.