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Museum Exhibits

This list of some of the airplanes, aviation equipment, and training devices you can see at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky was taken from a recent self-tour brochure. But remember: Displays change all the time!

EXHIBIT A: Heath Center Wing

(red plane on a metal stand)
The Heath Center Wing was built by the firm that made the popular electronic Heath Kits. This aircraft won a number of air races in the 1930s and was exhibited at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair.

EXHIBIT B: Sellers Quadruplane

(four-wing aircraft)
Matthew Sellers did independent, original aviation research in Carter County, Kentucky. This exhibit is a replica of the aircraft he built near Grahn and flew in 1908—just five years after the Wright Brothers’ flight. The first airplane designed, built, and flown in Kentucky, the Sellers plane was also the first aircraft with retractable wheels. It had no brakes, but landed on skids to shorten its stopping distance.

EXHIBIT C: Bell OH-58 Kiowa

(green Army helicopter)
This aircraft, formerly used by the Kentucky National Guard, is the military version of the Bell Ranger, the most successful civilian helicopter in the world. Used in Vietnam as an attack and reconnaissance platform, the OH-58 carried rockets and 7.62mm mini-guns. Visitors are welcome to climb in and “fly” this aircraft. Please watch your step!

EXHIBIT D: Crosley “Moonbeam”

(aqua blue biplane)
This plane was built in 1929 by Powell Crosley, the developer of Crosley Field, the former ballpark of the Reds in Cincinnati. Only five Crosley aircraft were ever built. The one on display here is airworthy and scheduled to be flown regularly. Crosley also built cars (one is displayed next to the plane), refrigerators, and radios. Note the grille ornament on the auto.

EXHIBIT E: Aeronca Model K

(yellow single-wing plane)
This aircraft is of a type called a “taildragger”; its third wheel is at the tail, not at the nose. Compare it to the Cessna 150, a “nosewheel” or “tricycle.” It was built in 1937 by Aeronca (the Aeronautical Corporation of America) at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati. Although nearly 65 years old, this craft is still airworthy.

EXHIBIT F: Lockheed Electra 12

(silver and orange twin-engine plane)
This plane was owned by an Australian who did business in Germany. He made it into a spy plane by hiding cameras in the wings and fuselage, then used it to take pictures of German military installations. It was the last Allied plane to leave Berlin in 1939, one week before Poland was invaded. This plane has been featured in movies and on the TV program Wings, and a Lockheed Electra 12 was featured in the movie Casablanca. Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic (1932) and from Hawaii to California (1935), was flying an Electra 10 model when she disappeared in 1937 while attempting to fly around the world. This historic aircraft is flyable and for sale.

EXHIBIT G: Piper L4 “Grasshopper”

(green plane with many windows)
The military version of the Piper Cub (J-3), this plane was flown in World War II mainly to direct artillery fire against military targets, but it had many other uses. Museum co-founder Dr. George Gumbert and his wife, Skip, flew this aircraft in Europe during the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings. The white stripes were painted on all Allied planes to enable ships’ gunners to distinguish friend from foe.

EXHIBIT H: T-38 “Talon”

(long, low jet aircraft)
In use for almost 40 years, the Talon is the current Air Force advanced trainer. The Thunderbirds, the USAF Flight Demonstration team, flew this type of aircraft for eight years. NASA uses T-38s for training and transportation of astronauts. The front-line fighter version of this plane, the F-5, at one time was used by 37 nations. The Talon is capable of supersonic flight—speeds in excess of Mach 1. Famous woman pilot Jacqueline Cochran (who headed the WASPs during World War II) set a speed record in the T-38 in 1961.

EXHIBIT I: Travel Air D4D

(red, white, and blue Pepsi-decorated biplane)
Built in 1929, N434N was originally owned by Andy Stinis, who used it for skywriting for Pepsi-Cola for more than 20 years. Pepsi ceased skywriting promotions in 1953, but revived the practice for the firm’s 75th anniversary. After serving as an apprentice in 1980, Suzanne Asbury-Oliver was named the chief Pepsi skywriter in 1981 and has flown N434N extensively since then. Pepsi donated the aircraft to the National Air and Space Museum. It will go on display in the Smithsonian’s new building at Dulles.

EXHIBIT J: A4 Skyhawk

(blue and gold Blue Angels jet)
The A4 Skyhawk was the primary Navy carrier attack aircraft in the Vietnam War. It can carry a variety of weapons. Two cannons were carried for self-defense and for support of ground forces. Almost 50 years since it was designed, three foreign air forces still use the A4. This aircraft has been painted in the colors of the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. The Blue Angels used the A4 for 13 years—longer than any other aircraft. This type of plane was flown by Blue Angel pilot and Lexington native Mike Nord.

EXHIBIT K: Pulsar Ultralight Aircraft

(white plane with a bird on it)
The Pulsar is an example of an all-composite or fiberglass-construction aircraft, designed for sport or recreation purposes. They are primarily two-occupant aircraft. This plane can be purchased partially pre-molded as a kit, and can be built in about 1,000 hours by anyone with basic hands-on skills. Museum members Al and Karen Belt built and flew this aircraft. Suspended around the hangar are other examples of kit planes.

EXHIBIT L: Cessna 150

(blue and white two-seat aircraft)
Visitors may sit in this aircraft and work the controls. Watch the movement of the control surfaces as the wheel and rudders are moved. Since the radio is tuned to the Blue Grass Airport tower, you may hear conversations between pilots and tower personnel. This plane was rebuilt for the museum by the high school students of the Southside Center for Applied Technology in Lexington.

EXHIBIT M: Pratt-Read Sailplane

(partially dismantled)
This is a Navy training sailplane used in World War II. It has been partially dismantled to demonstrate the delicate structure of an aircraft wing. This aircraft holds the world’s two-place glider altitude record of 44,255 feet. It had a wingspan of 55 ft. and weighed 770 lbs. empty.

EXHIBIT N: Youngsters’ Flight Simulator

(miniature white aircraft)
The AMK flight simulator was built by museum volunteers to demonstrate a plane’s movement in the sky. This is not a ride; young pilots use pedals and stick to control the craft’s pitch, roll, and yaw.

EXHIBIT O: Link Trainer

(dark blue and yellow cockpit)
The Link instrument training device was used in all armed services flight training schools from the 1930s through the 1960s. The instructor sat at the desk and watched a bar representing the aircraft’s simulated flight. Student pilots had to take off, fly to a designated airport, and land ... all done flying “blind.” Many a student developed his or her first case of vertigo in this machine! The student was under a great deal of pressure, and many gallons of sweat were lost.

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