It was one of those quintessential San Francisco sights: a Vietnam-era F-8 jet nestled in a children’s playground right off 19th avenue. Even residents who lived nowhere near the park remember seeing swarms of kids climbing atop the retired jet and pretend to defend the playground. Sadly, when the jet was removed in1993 due to disrepair and vandalism, no one really seemed to notice. The once popular play structure became a thing of San Francisco lore, as kids of future generations would only hear stories about “the airplane park.”
Well those stories could very well become a reality this year as The Friends of Larsen Playground have raised almost all the necessary funds to build a jet-themed play structure in the same location as it’s former aerial counterpart. And the rebuild doesn’t just stop with a new jet for the playground; they’re planning on revamping the existing swings and preschool play structure, which have long since been eaten away by rust. They have plans to add a few new spinners and possibly a new set of bathrooms. Did we just hear a collective “Yesss!”?
The new jet will feature a hollowed-out fuselage that kids can climb through from the exhaust up to the cockpit, and while the new jet won’t have the same markings as the F-8, designer Scott Petersen assures that the play structure will have a few nods to the original aircraft. SF Gate reported Petersen has big plans for the park. He commented, “The challenge is to stay true to the past, but also hopefully let it read differently to different-aged kids.” A new feature to the jet will be the black plumes of “smoke” trailing out of the exhaust. The smoke will actually be a black netting structure, which will offer more places for playground monkeys to climb around.
We can only hope that this new play structure lasts as long as the original jet–long live Airplane Park!
“Like” this story if you remember seeing the old jet at Larsen Park Are you as excited as we are for the proposed structure?
Bonus: Want to take the kids on a day trip and visit the old bird herself? Head to the Pacific Coast Air Museum in Sonoma and indulge your plane-crazy kid.
photos courtesy of the Friends of Larsen Park Playground facebook page