Aviation Park Open Cockpit Event Scheduled This Weekend | New


The public will have a rare chance to sit in a supersonic aircraft this weekend as Aviation Heritage Park hosts its annual free and educational Open Cockpit event.

Located in Basil Griffin Park, Aviation Heritage Park will offer visitors the option of getting into a Northrup T-38 Talon from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The Talon, a NASA trainer that honors local astronaut Terry Wilcutt, was flown by all the astronauts who walked on the moon.

Visitors will also be able to climb ladders to inspection platforms, where they can look inside other aircraft in the park.

The Open Cockpit event usually takes place in September of each year, but the park has decided to scale the event to 2021.

With rain in the forecast for Saturday, park board member Bob Pitchford said the event will take place on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. if it rains.

“We spend a lot of time with the kids, but a lot of adults go out too,” Pitchford said. “We really want the kids to come and hear the stories on these planes. Usually hundreds of people come out every year. We are an educational organization as much as we are a historical organization.

Pitchford said most of the planes on site have had their interiors recently restored as well as their exteriors.

Another feature of the event will be distinguished aviators who will act as guides for the audience while telling stories about the aircraft they once flew.

A guest docent at this year’s event will be General Allen Youngman of Alvaton, who served in the Vietnam War in the Pentagon and was adjutant general of the Kentucky National Guard.

Youngman will tell the story of Colonel Ray Nutter’s heroism in Vietnam. Nutter is the honored person represented by the park’s Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter, better known as Huey.

Pitchford said many Vietnam veterans come to see the helicopter, which is an emotional touchstone.

“We are so honored that these airmen are coming to tell their stories to the public,” said Pitchford. “The Huey is of particular importance to Vietnam veterans. This generally promotes a powerful emotional response. “

“We have put extra effort into the community that supports us so well,” said Pitchford. “Seeing everyone is worth it. People come from afar to see the plane. “

The park’s Summer Camp Expo will run alongside the Open Cockpit event this weekend and is also free to visitors and exhibitors.

The exhibition will allow the public to learn about and register for the camps this summer.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has created concerns with the camps this year, Pitchford said the park will still have a few camps represented this weekend. Ladybugs Beignets & Fries and Pelican SnoCones food trucks will be located on site during the show.

Anyone wishing to participate as an exhibitor can visit AviationHeritagePark.com for details on how to register.

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.

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