Aviation Heritage Park (AHP) celebrated its 10 year anniversary Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
While AHP incorporated as a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit in 2005, it wasn’t until 2009 that it officially opened its gates to the public with its very first aircraft, an F-4D Phantom, to honor General Dan Cherry. This aircraft commemorates Cherry’s historic dogfight with a North Vietnamese MiG-21, piloted by Nguyen Hong My. Cherry shot down the MiG-21 and 36 years later shook the hand of Hong My in recognition of reconciliation and friendship. A year later, Hong My flew to the United States for the ribbon cutting of the grand opening of Aviation Heritage Park – on the very anniversary of his and Cherry’s dogfight.
Ten years later and a lot has changed. That single airplane sitting lonesome in the park is now accompanied by five additional aircraft honoring distinguished aviators from all over South Central Kentucky. The seventh aircraft to be displayed at AHP, a Piper Cub, will be unveiled at the 2019 Hangar Party. The eighth aircraft, a SH-3H Sea King helicopter, in its unrestored state, will also be available for viewing during the Hangar Party event June 15th.
The landscape surrounding the aircraft display has undergone some significant changes as well. What was an empty grass field is now marked with construction. A new roadway was recently paved designating the location for the new museum to be added to the park in 2020.
“During this major milestone for Aviation Heritage Park, we’d like to take a moment to extend our most sincere thanks to everyone who has supported us along the way,” said Joe Tinius, AHP Board President. “From the Warren County Fiscal Court, Judge Buchanon, Bowling Green City Commissioners and the CVB to the local business owners, fellow museums and attractions, and all of our Hangar Party sponsors to every park visitor and volunteer - we would not be where we are today without you. Thank you for allowing us to serve the South Central Kentucky area and the aviation community at large.”