An F-4D Phantom #550 fighter aircraft arrived in Bowling Green, Kentucky on December 8, 2005 and was taken to the Warren County Regional Airport for restoration and future display at Aviation Heritage Park. A news conference was held at 3:30 pm following the plane’s arrival to its new home.
The F-4D Phantom #550 was brought to Bowling Green for restorative cleaning, painting and display in Aviation Heritage Park. Although now painted gray, the aircraft will be restored to the green and brown Vietnam era paint scheme. The restoration process is scheduled to take about eight months, with official dedication of the aircraft to take place in fall 2006.
Aviation Heritage Park, Inc., a nonprofit corporation, is responsible for bringing the aircraft to Bowling Green. The organization is also working to design and construct a beautifully landscaped area to accommodate up to six aircraft with the purpose being to educate current and future generations about the important contributions to the field of aviation by the citizens of South Central Kentucky. “There are many distinguished aviators who have called South Central Kentucky home,” said Carroll Hildreth, President of Aviation Heritage Park. “We want to be sure their stories are told.”
The F-4D Phantom #550 aircraft is a plane with historic significance to the Air Force and to South Central Kentucky. Brigadier General (Ret.) Dan Cherry, a Bowling Green native, was at the controls of #550 on April 16, 1972, when he shot down a North Vietnamese MIG-21 during the Vietnam War. It was decided that Phantom 550 would make a fitting cornerstone for the park dedicated to educating area school children and adults about aviation, from the origins of flight to space travel, with an emphasis on the contributions made by regional residents.