Billy Sparks Kentuckiana Pack Visits Bowling Green
15 Sep 18
The Billy Sparks Kentuckiana Pack took a road trip to Bowling Green, KY, to visit the Aviation Heritage Park (AHP) to hold their latest Tactics Conference on September 15th. Members came from Indianapolis, Nashville, Louisville, and they even had two members that flew in. The 10 pack members were treated to a guided tour of park, which included docents standing by each aircraft to tell the particulars of each aircraft and who they represent from the Bowling Green area. Aircraft included the F-111F Aardvark,F-9F Panther, F-4D Phantom, T-33A Shooting Star, T-38 Talon, and a UH-1P Huey helicopter. Pack members attending included:Craig "Pontiff” Pope, Bob “Hobo” Carlsen, AJ “Fumes” Pope, Tim “Sparky” Sparks, Bill “Slope” Lindsey, Keith Balcom, Joel Fischer, Al Albrecht, and “Smokin" Joe Bianco. The group also got to stand in front of the newly placed “Brick” that the pack bought to help support the park.
Following the aircraft tour, they were treated to one of the most fascinating military aviation stories ever, presented by Gen. Dan Cherry. Gen. Cherry gave the group his presentation, “My Enemy, My Friend – A story of reconciliation from the Vietnam War”. The story begins with details of the mission in which he shoots down a Mig-21, being involved with the creation of AHP, the accruing of the actual F-4D (tail number 550) that he used to shoot down the Mig, the restoration of it, and finally, locating and meeting the Mig pilot and having him at the dedication of the “550” in Bowling Green at the AHP in 2009. Gen. Cherry even coordinated with the pack for them to buy signed copies of his book, My Enemy, My Friend” to help generate money for the park. Craig “Pontiff” Pope presented Gen. Cherry with a framed River Rats 50th Anniversary print with a pack coin on it, that he will hold on till the new museum is built (kick off for this museum expansion will be held in October). If you every have the chance fly or drive anywhere near Bowling Green, make sure and drop in for a visit. A video of the presentation will be posted to the website in the near future.
For more information on the aircraft, current activities and upcoming events at AHP, visit their website at: http://new.aviationheritagepark.com.
Here is an article on the Gen. Cherry’s story from the Air & Space magazine: https://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/above-and-beyond-my-enemy-my-friend-57179945/.
Autographed books may be purchased by contacting Christine Bobco, AHP Executive Asst., at 270-421-4885 or AviationHeritageParkBG@gmail.com.
Below are pictures from the event.
Click on them to enlarge and see any notes associated with them.
Below the photos is an article on AHP and news on the kick off event for the new museum that will be built by 2020.
Aviation Heritage Park and the future Museum
Aviation Heritage Park (AHP) is a non-profit organization, with a unique mission. From the time man first took flight in the early 1900s to the shuttle missions into space, aviators from South Central Kentucky have played a significant role in the history of aviation. These aviators—and their ties to South Central Kentucky—deserve to be recognized and celebrated so that future generations might be made aware of and motivated by their extraordinary achievements.
AHP is dedicated to memorializing these stories of the aviation heroes and pioneers of South Central Kentucky. Our mission is designed to educate children and adults about aviation science and engineering. It has universal appeal to all ages from both historical and educational aspects.
Starting out as just a single plane sitting in a field, Aviation Heritage Park has grown to one of the top ten attractions in Bowling Green, Kentucky. With six extraordinary aircraft meticulously restored (and plans for more) AHP is Bowling Green’s only attraction dedicated to aerospace technology.
Along with the addition of aircraft and methodically landscaped grounds, AHP has added numerous annual events, community partnerships, and a robust tour schedule bringing in groups from across the country. But our vision is bigger than the wonderful yet completely outdoor park that we currently are- we envision becoming the premiere aviation museum in Kentucky.
The new museum complete with classroom spaces, state-of-the-art displays, interpretive exhibits, and hands-on activities will encourage youth to expand their interest in aviation, science, and engineering careers. This indoor facility will also allow us to preserve paper documents, textiles, small artifacts, and other artifacts better suited for a controlled environment. There are numerous aviators from South Central Kentucky who have made significant contributions to aviation history and this country; this new facility will greatly expand our ability to share their stories and motivate future generations.
Aviation Heritage Park (AHP) will kick off their capital campaign for a $2.5 million aviation museum by turning dirt to mark the start of the first phase of construction. The kick-off ceremony will take place this coming October 11, 2018 at 11:00 AM at Aviation Heritage Park located at 1825 Three Springs Rd, Bowling Green, KY. The Museum will include classroom and meeting spaces, state-of-the-art displays, interpretive exhibits, and a restoration facility, in total covering some 11,000 square feet of floor area. The Museum is set to open by 2020.