Aviation Heritage Park

Kevin Willis

An airplane with an amazing local connection will make its public debut at the Bowling Green’s Aviation Heritage Park on Saturday, June 8. The F-111 joining the park took part in the 1986 U.S. air raid against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya—a raid led by a WKU graduate and native of south-central Kentucky.

Sitting in a hangar near the Bowling Green Regional Airport is a plane known  as the “Warhorse” because of its many years of service. If you didn’t know any better, you might assume this relic from the military’s not-too-distant past could take off and fly right now.

Not having an engine keeps this bird on the ground, but it sure looks nice.

For Arnie Franklin, seeing this F-111 look just the way it did back in 1986 brings forward a flood of memories.

“It brings all of those emotions that I remember from that mission back to the forefront, and even though it was 27 years ago, in a lot of ways it seems like it was yesterday," Franklin told WKU Public Radio.

This is the story of a Kentucky pilot, a war plane, and a mission.