Funding Campaign for Restore BG Seeks Local VN Vet and Area Support
For several years, AHP has sought a Huey to symbolize the courage of the warriors who served in Vietnam. Recently the park has received official word from the National Museum of the Air Force that the request has been confirmed. The process to retrieve, demilitarize and release the helicopter can be a tedious process leaving the park unsure on its expected arrival. It’s the military.
The mission of Aviation Heritage Park is to assure that military heroes’ stories are never forgotten. With your financial support, the BG Huey will display in AHP as that symbol of the warriors of Vietnam. The park will use it to tell the story of Huey pilot and Distinguished Service Cross recipient, Ray Nutter and Medal of Honor winner, Don Jenkins.
Our budget for this project is $60,000. That includes transportation of the helicopter from the Boneyard in Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, parts, extensive repairs, complete rebuild of the interior, and paint.
Commemorative Air Force Brings B-17 to BG
Bomber rides and tours will be available. Aviation Heritage Park is offering special recognition to World War 2 B-17 Air Ground and Crew Veterans. Please call our office at 270-202-7248.
All other B-17 Bomber Rides are arranged by calling (602) 448-9415, or email: email@example.com. Seats are limited! Weather or other factors beyond the control of the tour operators may affect ride availability.
Plane Tours: Tour the historic Sentimental Journey daily: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ($5 donation requested)
Cost: $850 Bombardier Seat
$425 Gunner/Radio Room Seat
Huey Awarded to AHP
BG Daily News article by Wes Swietek– The search is over, but the wait is not. Aviation Heritage Park officials have been looking for several years for a UH-1 Iroquois “Huey” helicopter to add to the display of five fixed-wing aircraft at the park on Three Springs Road.
“The Aviation Heritage Park does things like no other aviation museum” by linking its displayed aircraft with the story of Kentucky aviators who flew them, AHP board President Bob Pitchford said.
According to Nutter’s 2006 obituary in the Daily News, Nutter’s combat service in Vietnam earned numerous citations for valor, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest medal for valor.
The Distinguished Service Cross Hall of Valor website outlines Nutter’s actions that led to the citation:
“Major Nutter distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 18 October 1966 while serving as platoon leader of an armed helicopter team supporting combat operations near Vi Thanh. Major Nutter led his aircraft in strikes at heavily fortified Viet Cong positions that were threatening a small friendly force. When two evacuation helicopters were forced to abandon attempts to reach the ground unit because of intense fire, Major Nutter decided to fly in for the pickup himself. As he brought his helicopter down, it was hit by a burst of fire which riddled the cabin, shot away the controls, and killed the other pilot. In the crash, Major Nutter suffered a large gash in his leg, but led the two crew members out of the aircraft and deeper into the swamp as the Viet Cong closed in on the wreckage. With the hope of escaping to friendly territory, they decided to move stealthily through the enemy positions, which were not under air and artillery assault. Hampered by his injury and beset by leeches and mosquitoes, he hacked his way through the swamp growths with a knife. On two occasions, when an armed insurgent attacked them, Major Nutter killed them with his knife. Suffering from cold, mosquitoes, and the pain of his wounds, and endangered by artillery fire all night, Major Nutter hid until morning in a rice paddy. Early the next day, he made contact with a friendly Vietnamese force.”
Nutter was one of the thousands of Vietnam-era helicopter pilots to fly a Huey helicopter. From 1965 to 1973, the UH-1 was the most common utility helicopter used in Vietnam, according to the Vietnam Helicopters Museum website.
“We have a long wish list,” said Pitchford, adding the Huey search has spanned about three years. The Hueys “are harder to come by than we ever thought it would be. When we found one, they were still in flying condition and owners wanted $500,000.”
But the AHP has a strong relationship with the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, and began making inquiries with its staff. Those efforts paid off three months ago as an available Huey was located at the Davis-Monthan Air Force “Boneyard” – reportedly the largest repository of old military aircraft in the world – in Tucson, Ariz.
“We were ecstatic,” Pitchford said.
But locating the craft was just the first step.
The Huey has to be demilitarized – a process AHP officials were told can take anywhere from a few months to up to three years.
“We went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows,” Pitchford said.
But the AHP is hoping to have the Huey here sooner rather than later and has been lobbying for an expedited process.
“We’re hoping to have it at the next Hanger Party” next summer, Pitchford said. AHP officials are also working on plans to raise the needed funds to get the helicopter transported here and related costs.
The Huey will not only help tell the tale of Nutter’s service but many other local veterans as well who came into contact with the workhouse helicopter.
“We love the story the Huey tells. Every serviceman knows that incredible whoop, whoop, whoop sound” indicating help was on the way, Pitchford said.
— Follow city government reporter Wes Swietek on Twitter @BGDNgovtbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.
Work finished this week on the refurbishment of the T-33, on display in honor of General Russ Dougherty of Glasgow, Commander of the Strategic Air Command. The Mobile Maintenance Shelter was moved to the F-4, known as Phantom 550, the exact plane flown by General Dan Cherry in the Vietnam War when he shot down a MiG-21 flown by Nguyễn Hồng Mỹ.
All of this work could not have been accomplished without the community partners and volunteers who continue to work on this project. Special thanks go out to Jerry Cantrell and team from Continental Machinery (for providing the steel plates), and J. David Fields and team from Western Crane. These guys have their “stuff” together. Thanks also to Tanker, SAR, Barrett Barnes, Mach Yowell, Rooster and Air Boss for making the move go smooth.
We have great volunteers at the park who help with the refurb project. But, we need more. If you need a hobby project and have some spare time, please call Sandra at (270) 202-7248 to inquire.
AHP Awarded Huey
After years of searching, Aviation Heritage Park has received official word from the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, Ohio that our request for a UH-1 has been confirmed.
The park is approved to receive a UH-1 “Huey” helicopter as the next artifact. The process to retrieve one from the “Boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona has begun.
After the selection of the air frame, it will be designated as a museum artifact and then demilitarized for civilian release. It’s a long process that could take anywhere from 6 months to three years, according to the acceptance letter. (The park waited two years for the F-111 currently on display).
We are excited that the process has begun! As soon as the air frame is released it will be transported to Bowling Green. That’s when the meticulous restoration process begins. It’s a very expensive proposition and thousands of man-hours will be spent making Bowling Green’s Huey a showpiece worthy of display. As soon as we have more information, we will post an update.
Corvette Club Visits Park
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. The event this year is sponsored by SpanTech.
Hangar Party tickets are available now on Eventbrite 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 www.aviationheritagepark.com. 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
NEW 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
Aviation 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!