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AHP Hangar Party 2016 Features Restless Heart

Kick the season into high gear Saturday, June 18 with Bowling Green’s most exciting summer event- Aviation Heritage Park’s 10th annual Hangar Party.  Big Dreams in a Small Town, this year’s theme, promises an evening to remember with a celebrity concert, aircraft displays, food, unlimited beverages and a great dance band.

Get your tickets now to hear country music icons Restless Heart at this year’s gala in the big hangar at the Bowling Green/Warren County Regional Airport. The CMA award winning artists will be performing a selection of their 28 top 100 hits like When She Cries, I’ll Still be Loving You and Tell Me What You Dream, all #1 hits.

“’Big Dreams in a Small Town,’ the title of one of this year’s featured artists’ hit songs, reminded us of every child in every small town across America who ever looked up at a soaring plane and dreamed of flying one day,” said AHP President Bob Pitchford. Restless Heart will be on stage 7-8 pm followed by local dance band sensation Bueler’s Day Off who will be playing until 10 pm.

Live entertainment and dancing are just a part of the evening of fun. Party goers will enjoy a delicious barbecue dinner, unlimited free beverages and a stroll down memory lane through pictures and displays of the men and women and artifacts that make up the vivid aviation history of south central Kentucky. Several aircraft of interest are scheduled to be on hand, including an extremely rare Spartan Executive once owned and flown by Howard Hughes, a P-51 Mustang Warbird and a fully restored Piper Cub in honor of Glasgow, KY native Willa Brown Chapel who trained Tuskeegee Airmen in WW2.

Party gates open at 5 p.m. Tickets are limited with pre-purchase recommended beginning June 1st at Ford’s Furniture, Nat’s Outdoor Sports, Chuck’s Liquor, and Barbara Stewart Interiors or online at Tickets are $40 each for adults, $15 for children six-12, five and under are free. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door.

If you or your organization is interested in sponsoring a table, please contact AHP at 270-202-7248.

Movie Night at Aviation Heritage Park

Poster - Bridges at Toko-Ri, The_09NEW DATE: Celebrate Memorial Day with us by coming to Aviation Heritage Park! Enjoy a free movie under the stars and in front of five War Birds at dusk (8 pm-ish) on Saturday, May 28 at Aviation Heritage Park. We will be showing Academy Award winner Bridges at Toko-Ri. Released in 1954 this classic war movie stars William Holden as Naval Reservist pilot Lt. Harry Brubaker who is stationed on an aircraft carrier in the Sea of Japan during the Korean War. Although suffering from battle fatigue and longing to return to civilian life with his wife, Nancy (Grace Kelly), he agrees to fly a dangerous bombing mission over North Korea, with the support of his faithful rescue crew, Forney (Mickey Rooney) and Gamidge (Earl Holliman), and his sympathetic commanding officer, Commander Lee (Charles McGraw).

Bring your lawn chair and your cooler. It will be a great night at the Park!

Kite Day at Aviation Heritage Park

FacebookKiteDayAviation Heritage Park will be holding the second annual Kite Day at the Park on Saturday, April 16 from 11 am til 2 pm.
Special featured guests are local favorites, the Red River Fiddlers, with two half hour performances- at noon and 1 pm. Rapid Rick will have his amazing Jersey dogs setup for visitor’s enjoyment.

Don’t have a kite? No problem! We’ve got some high flying pocket kites available for purchase.
Come celebrate your freedom under the wing of our beautifully restored warbirds that tell the stories of local heroes. Enjoy a day outdoor at Aviation Heritage Park, located at Basil Griffin Park on Three Springs Road. Great fun in the spring sunshine!

Aviation Summer Camps at Airport

camp2016Each summer, the Aviation Museum of Kentucky offers Aviation Summer Camps at airports around the state. In 2016, camps offered at the Bowling Green airport will be the Bob Pitchford Aviation Camp- July 8-9 and the Jim Bohannon III Aviation Camp – July 10-11. Each camp is for two days, from 8:00 AM – 3:30 PM and is offered to children ages 10-15.

Students will learn the ins and outs of aviation, from weather and navigation to the parts of an airplane. Students will also have the opportunity to assist an FAA Certified Flight Instructor in a cross-country flight in a Cessna 172. There will be approximately 25 spots open for each camp this year. Click this LINK for the camp application.

WBKO Sunday Conversations

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) — You probably know Aviation Heritage Park in Bowling Green is the home of historic airplanes flown by aviators from right here in south central Kentucky. But did you know it’s more than just a static display?

It describes the action each plane has seen and the inspiring stories of each of pilot that flew them. One of them is retired Air Force Colonel Arnie Franklin, who led the air assault on Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi’s compound in Tripoli in 1986.

He says the goal of Aviation Heritage Park is to recognize and honor the aviators of our area, so future generations might be motivated by their extraordinary achievements. To learn more about Aviation Heritage Park just click the link beside this story.

Paper Airplane Contest Takes Flight

BOWLING GREEN, KY—Aviation Heritage Park has announced the winners of its second annual Paper Airplane Contest (PAC). This year the event was sponsored PACGroupby Sleep Number.

Aviation Heritage Park hosted its Paper Airplane Contest Saturday, November 14 at the WKU Center for Research and Development. The competition was open to all local elementary and junior high schools. Eleven school districts participated including Daviess County Middle, Metcalfe Elementary, Barren County Middle, Glasgow Independent Schools, Adairville Schools, Taylor County Schools and Munfordville School System.

WinnersThe two divisional winners came from the Munfordville School system. The 4th-6th grade winner, Ethan Roten, won with a throw of 72’2”. The 7th-8th grade winner, Jacob Bush, won with a throw of 61’1”.

“Our goal for this event was for students to use their own initiative with the support of their parents and teachers to have a learning opportunity beyond their classroom that was fun and challenging,” said AHP Board Member Eric Gregory. “By working together with the local educators, we were able to host an event for students to compete and grow in the vital area of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education.”

The top competitors in each grade category won a scholarship to attend Aviation Summer Camp at the Bowling Green/Warren County Regional Airport in July.

Drone Dash at Aviation Heritage Park

Date: Saturday, October 17
Time: Registration Start- 8 am
Flights- 9 am – 5 pm
Drone DashLocation: Aviation Heritage Park  located at the corner of Three Springs Road and Smallhouse Road at Basil Griffin Park.
Track: Layout based on the National Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park “LeMans Circuit.” It is a 1,000 foot course with tight turns, long straights, and over and under airgates.  Click for Course Map.
Green Zone Course: Free flight area away from course for unlimited, fun flying. Part of registration.
Participants: First Person View (FPV) and Line of Sight (LOS) UAV pilots. Click for Participation Rules.
Fee Structure: Spectators – Free (Must remain clear of pilots and out of Green Zone); UAV Pilot Registration– $10 (One-time fee. Full day access to Green Zone); Track Use: $10 / 5-minute track session / pilot. Sessions can be solo or head-to-head with as many as four cockpit day
Prizes: Mall gift cards- FPV pilot with most lap completions in a single session- first and second place.
Other Park Events: Open Cockpits 10 am – 2 pm. Docents will be on hand to provide information. Food vendors- Rapid Rick, Chaney’s Ice Cream and a Barbecue restaurant will also be on hand.
Park Prizes: Aviation Heritage Park will have four Park Hopper passes from Disney World in Orlando to raffle the day of the Drone Dash to participants and park visitors.

Help AHP Locate a Huey

Board members and friends of AHP have been busy searching for a Vietnam War-era UH-1 “Huey” helicopter to display at the park on Three Springs Road.

If you can help, please call 270.202.7248.

If you can help, please call 270.202.7248.


“We believe it’s time to honor ‘Every Man,’ Bob Pitchford, AHP president reported. “The Huey would honor the military men and women from south central Kentucky who served during the Vietnam War era. Nearly every service member from that period of military history rode, flew, was a crew chief or “wrenched” on a Huey. The UH-1 is an iconic symbol of service in Southeast Asia and we hope, by telling the story one man in particular, Vietnam Medal of Honor winner SSgt Don Jenkins, we can honor all area men for their service.”

Many UH-1 pilots call south central Kentucky home. Some area Huey pilots and crew members are Col. Mac Reynolds (also former pilot of Marine One, official helicopter of the President of the United States), Col. Danny Young, Chief Warrant Officer Joe Durbin, Chief Warrant officer Bill Basham and Maj. Jim Wright.

AHP needs your help to compile a comprehensive list of service members from south central Kentucky associated with the UH-1 helicopter. Please contact us with names of anyone from this area involved with the aircraft.

Jim Allen, AHP Public Relations Officer said, “We are looking for a non-flyable unit, with blades and transmission. A complete cockpit with full instruments and seats is desirable. However, we will take a look at assembling one from random parts. We’ve had several leads but, as yet none have worked out.”

Allen continued, “We are asking for help. If anyone knows, or has an old platoon or squadron buddy that might know where AHP can find a discarded UH-1 body, or parts, please contact AHP offices at 270-202-7248.”

Aviation Heritage Park was founded on a vision to find, restore and display aviation artifacts with a historical connection to aviators from south central Kentucky. The park now has five planes on display. We look forward to displaying the 57 foot long, 5,000 pound iconic framework honoring our Vietnam era heroes. Read more recent news about the park by clicking this link to the July edition of Flight Line, Aviation Heritage Park’s newsletter.

Astronaut Visits AHP

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) – After spending six months on the Space Station, a Houston astronaut visited Aviation Heritage Park with his family.

AHP President Bob Pitchford and Astronaut Barry Wilmore

AHP President Bob Pitchford and Astronaut Barry Wilmore

Astronaut Barry Wilmore returned from his space exploration in April, and is now traveling to share his story.

“We could talk for hours about how special and fantastic a place that is. And of course the science and the work we’re doing there around the clock. You know for 15 years now we’ve been operating on the space station, so it’s a great and wonderful place.”

For Wilmore, Bowling Green, Kentucky was a special stop. He had flown all of the aircraft displayed in Aviation Heritage Park except for one, the Navy Blue Angels Grumman Panther F9F. For him, sharing a piece of his history with his friends, wife and children was something he said he didn’t want to trade for anything.

“Well you know, that experience was special, but this is special too.”

Wilmore said he enjoyed getting to be back with his family, but he wouldn’t completely rule out another trip back to space.

“I’m done with my work now. I’m in the post-flight phase where I’m going and sharing the story, that’s part of what I’m here now for, but you know if the Lord gives me opportunity I might get to go back and do it again, we’ll see. Time will tell.”

As an honor to Barry Wilmore, Aviation Heritage Park asked him to sign his name on the NASA T-38 Talon that he had previously flown.

Every Hero Has a Story

SummerRdgAviation Heritage Park hosted the kickoff of the Warren County Public library’s summer reading program on June 4 at the park located on Three Springs Road. The event, entitled Every Hero Has a Story, featured heroes, magic and fun.

More than 1,000 children, summer school caregivers, teachers, parents, grandparents and other adults attended the event. Along with the fun of a magician, children were excited to see many forms of heroes at the park- from firemen complete with fire trucks to police officers and military.

Aviation Heritage Park had a table set up in front of Phantom 550 where General Dan Cherry spoke with hundreds of eager children about the plane and flying. Colonel Arnie Franklin was stationed at the Aardvark with his own group of admiring and curious kids and adults. AHP President, Sr. Chief Bob Pitchford was available to answer questions about all the other airplanes.

“Are those bombs?”, “How high does it fly?”, “Does it still fly?”, “Can I fly it?”, “How do you learn to fly?” are just a few of the questions that curious young minds asked. AHP Executive Assistant Sandra Pence will be holding a summer reading program for children aged 3-5 in Aviation Heritage Park this summer.

Franklin Inducted into the Ky Aviation Hall of Fame

ArnieKYAviationCol. Arnold Franklin, USAF retired and Distinguished Flying Cross recipient, who led a successful strike mission from England on Libya in 1986 was honored in November when he was inducted into the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame in Lexington, Ky. Colonel Franklin, along with several others, was honored for their contributions to aviation and aerospace during the induction.

Colonel Franklin is a command pilot with over 3,500 flying hours.  He logged 782 combat hours in F-111s and OV-10s during his Southeast Asia tours of duty and while assigned to RAF Lakenheath, England.  His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, and the Air Medal with 15 oak leaf clusters.

He joins fellow Aviation Heritage Park honorees who have also been inducted into the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame: General Dan Cherry (2000), LCDR John Magda (2000), General Russ Dougherty (1998), Col. Terry Wilcutt (2008).

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Dedicates T-38 at AHP Saturday Oct. 18

BoldenGeneral Charles Bolden, Administrator of NASA, will visit Bowling Green Oct. 17-18.

The public is invited to attend a 10 a.m. open-air dedication ceremony at Aviation Heritage Park on Three Springs Road. During that ceremony General Bolden will dedicate the T-38 Talon.

The new addition will memorialize astronaut and U.S. Marine Col. Terry Wilcutt who currently serves at NASA as Director of the Safety and Mission Assurance Directive at Johnson Space Center.  Additionally, the T-38 honors David H. Finney, from Auburn, who was the Chief of the Johnson Space Center Aircraft Operations Division in the Flight Crew Operations Directorate until his retirement from NASA in July 2008.

Wilcutt and Jill Finney, widow of David Finney, will be present to assist with the dedication. Astronauts Hoot Gibson and Rhea Seddon will also be in attendance.

On Friday, Oct. 17  at 4 p.m. General Bolden will speak to the students of The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science of Kentucky and other university students and faculty at WKU’s Mass Media and Technology Auditorium. There will be limited seating available for other interested community people wishing to attend.