Written by Elizabeth Davis. Posted in News & Weather

While you are out at the Russell Regional Airport for the 2018 Rome Balloon Festival this weekend, take a moment to view the aircraft on display from the Museum of Flight. You might even take it a step further and visit the museum itself, which shares a hangar with Tiger Flight at Rome’s airport.

The museum continues to add to its collection of historic aircraft.  Supporters are now in the midst of recovering an F-14 Tomcat from the Virginia Aviation Museum in Richmond, Virginia.

Ken Suffridge, museum member, says that this particular Tomcat, nicknamed “Sweet Little Miss”, was the last F-14 to land on an aircraft carrier.

The plane’s wings are already here, though its fuselage (and other parts) must be moved across three states to complete the project. This will take quite a bit of money, says Suffridge, about $30,000-$40,000.

Interested parties may assist the museum with the F-14 Tomcat recovery by making a donation on the project’s GoFundMe page.

Once the project is completed, the museum plans to hold an F-14 Recovery Party. Suffridge says that museum officials really hope to meet that goal by the end of the month.  He adds that the party may have to be postponed, but he is very optimistic that the project will be completed soon and a party will most definitely follow.

And, yes, this particular aircraft is the same type of F-14 that was flown in the movie “Top Gun”!

The Museum of Flight is open every Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am until 4 pm and Sundays from 1 pm until 4 pm.  For more information, call the museum at (423) 228-2FLY or visit

The Rome Balloon Festival, as of today, is slated to proceed as scheduled, though event officials are keeping an eye on the weather due to concerns that the area may be impacted by Hurricane Florence.  Gates will open this Friday and Saturday at 1 pm with the festival expected to launch at 4 pm daily.  For additional event details, visit

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