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  • NASA T-38 Talon flown by Colonel Terry Wilcutt

    NASA T-38 Talon flown by Colonel Terry Wilcutt

  • Aviation Heritage Park in Bowling Green, KY

    Aviation Heritage Park in Bowling Green, KY

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Paper Airplane Contest Takes Flight

kid2Aviation Heritage Park successfully hosted its inaugural Paper Airplane Contest this past Saturday, November 22, at Bowling Green Junior High School. The competition was open to all local elementary and junior high schools.

The rules were simple; the planes had to be made from a single piece of typing paper, and were hand launched over an indoor measured course for distance and accuracy. Over the weeks prior to the championship, each participating school held preliminary competitions, with the winners meeting at the regional event hosted by AHP. Over 450 students participated at the school level.kid1

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

This year’s winners were Prince Patel a student from Jody Richards Elementary with a launch of 23 feet and Tanner Cosby a student from South Warren Middle School with a launch of 81 feet.

 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).

T-38 Dedicated at Aviation Heritage Park

readerbrd300 Saturday, October 18, at Aviation Heritage Park, community members gathered as park personnel dedicated the NASA T-38 Talon in honor of Terry Wilcutt and the late Dave Finney.

Also on hand as the guest of honor, was NASA administrator, Charles Bolden, who is a retired United States Marine Corps Major General, and former NASA astronaut. General Bolden credits Aviation Heritage Park for sharing those stories

“What’s really important is to hear the story of the people who flew them, and maintained them, because those are the stories that will help our kids become better leaders in the future,” General Bolden said.

The T-38 joins the other aircraft in the park. Those artifacts include the F-11 Aardvark flown by Colonel Arnold Franklin who led the first  raid on Quadafi in Operation El Dorado Canyon, the US strike on Libya. The park’s Phantom 550 is the actual plane General Dan Cherry flew in the Vietnam War when he shot down a MiG-21. General Russ Dougherty, former SAC Commander, is memorialized with the park’s Lockheed Shooting Star. The park’s Grumman Panther tells the story of John Magda, Blue Angels leader, war hero.

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.

Five Planes at Aviation Heritage Park

Talon Presentation poste300rMoving a T-38 down a busy Bowling Green highway isn’t easy, but the job was successfully accomplished late night September 21. This plane was specifically selected to add to the park’s collection because of its fantastic history. This Talon has been flown by every Mercury astronaut, every Gemini astronaut, and every man that has ever walked on the moon. All the planes at the park tell the story of a regional aviator, and this one is no different.

The new addition will memorialize astronaut and U.S. Marine Col. Terry Wilcutt, a Russellville native and Western Kentucky University graduate. Wilcutt has more than 1,000 hours in space including four shuttle flights, two as pilot and two as mission commander. After a long and distinguished career with the Marines, he joined NASA and currently serves as the 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.

 Highway 231 as a Runway – September 21, 2014

Terry in 901 logo275wThe tentative date of September 21 has been set to move the fully restored NASA T-38 Talon, tail number 901, to Aviation Heritage Park’s collection of historical aircraft.  The plane is the fifth acquisition for the park whose goal is to promote the stories of prominent aviators from the region.

The T-38 was flown by astronaut and U.S. Marine Col. Terry Wilcutt, a Russellville native and Western Kentucky University graduate. This plane was flown by 82 of 85 astronauts in the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame including Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, and Alan Shepard.

Thanks to innumerable area partners, the process always goes off smoothly. The plan is for the plane to be pulled down Scottsville Road, starting around 10 p.m. September 21, make the corner at Three Springs Road and find its new home at Aviation Heritage Park.

See pictures of the arrival of the Talon and read the history of our T-38 here.