EC-135 “Looking Glass” Restoration


Welcome to the EC-135 “Looking Glass” Restoration page.

The EC-135 Looking Glass is an icon of the Strategic Air Command and a credit to the nation it served for many years. Read a letter from Gen. John T. Chain (USAF, r.) here– detailing the role “Looking Glass” played in winning the Cold War and the value it adds to the Strategic Air & Space Museum collection.

The EC-135’s Restoration Kickoff Event was held on March 13 with nearly 90 attending the event.

The kick-off presentation included remarks from U.S. Navy Admiral Cecil D. Haney, current U.S. Strategic Command commander, Lt. Gen Bob Hinson, USAF, Ret., Museum board representative, USAF Colonel Tim Murtha, Maj. Gen. Bill Doyle, USAF RET., and Museum Executive Director Dr. Michael McGinnis.

During the kick-off event, pictures were taken of all the former SAC members who had been involved with the ABNCP. The pictures were taken by a USSTRATCOM photographer, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Lovelady. (For Sgt. Lovelady’s copyrighted pictures, click here.)

The tour and pictures concluded the formal activities. Note: Additional pictures may be seen on Facebook: click here.

General John T. Chain visited the EC-135 on June 3, 2015. He gave an interview to the local media and contributed to the Museum’s Oral History project.


To take part in the EC-135 “Looking Glass” Restoration as a volunteer, please click here.

To donate toward the EC-135’s restoration, click the “Donate Now!” button on the right side of this page.

October 6, 2015- For 30 years, the Strategic Air Command Airborne Command Post “Looking Glass” was on continuous airborne alert 24/7/365, sending our adversaries a clear message that the U.S. nuclear forces were ready to be used as the President needed. It was an ominous reminder to the former Soviet Union that a preemptive attack would not prevent our ability to launch a nuclear counter attack.

General John T. Chain Jr. landed the EC-135 “Looking Glass”, aircraft 38049, at Offutt AFB in 1990 and it has been stored outdoors since that date, moving from Offutt AFB to the Strategic Air & Space Museum location in Ashland, NE in1993. In March, 2015 the Museum announced plans to restore “Looking Glass” into an indoor walk-through exhibit. The exhibit will include additional artifacts that will describe the role of the Airborne Command Posts in U.S. history and will interactively display oral histories of pilots and crew members who served the missions. The museum’s education staff will develop field trip offerings for schools so that the history of the Cold War and SAC’s role in fighting and winning the Cold War can be told to future generations.

This is the Museum’s largest restoration project to date. It is estimated that $200,000 is needed to fully restore the aircraft and to build exhibits around the aircraft. Currently, with the help of a committee of volunteers, the Museum has raised $46,400 through private donations and corporate sponsors.

Restoration began in April, 2015 with volunteers tagging all equipment, removing and placing all parts into storage. “Looking Glass” will be pulled into the restoration hangar after all parts have been removed, the aircraft is sealed, power-washed, and the mold has been mitigated.

Many thanks to our sponsors for support in the restoration and exhibition of Looking Glass!


Fundraising Supporters
SAC ACCA Board is supporting the cause with a commemorative coin. Proceeds after coin and shipping costs will be donated to the Museum for the restoration of EC-135. Click here for order form.

Read the March newsletter of the Air Force Missileers here.

Read the SAC ACCA Newsletter for March 2015 here.

Read the Omaha World Herald’s June 8 article on the Looking Class’s restoration here!

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