The early pioneers of aviation worked in a state of perpetual fear to propel the industry forward, terrified of the ineffectual golden parachutes they were promised if their employment was terminated. See what kept them safely soaring with today’s Groupon: for $7, you get two adult passes to The Aviation Museum of Kentucky at Blue Grass Airport (a $14 value).
A 12,000-square-foot shrine to those who dared defy gravity and conquer the clouds, The Aviation Museum of Kentucky houses a dynamic collection of rare and restored aircraft honoring the Commonwealth’s fascination with flight. An air-worthy assemblage of replica planes—headlined by a worthy restitution of Matthew B. Sellers’ 1908 quadruplane— hangs on wires from the museum’s ceiling, as if frozen in graceful midflight. Other aircraft boast rare and exceptional designs, such as the Navy’s retired F-14 Tomcat, the Heath Center Wing exhibited at the 1933 Chicago World Fair, and 1929 Crosley Moonbeam. The museum’s stockpile of grounded airplanes is supplemented by a host of flyable aircraft and a collection of engines ranging from small internal-combustion power plants to a massive high-bypass turbofan used in modern-day jumbo jets.
Self-guided tours—or guided tours led by docents and volunteers—enhance an interactive experience that puts guests in the cockpit of history. The museum’s impressive Hall of Fame honors those who have changed the course of aviation in Kentucky and throughout the world, from parachute inventor Solomon Van Meter, Jr. to the inventor of the airborne mail-delivery service, Karl Malone.
The Aviation Museum of Kentucky
Located at Blue Grass Airport, the Aviation Museum of Kentucky pays tribute to the Commonwealth’s rich history of aviation with its impressive squadron of rare and restored aircraft, aviation memorabilia, interactive educational displays, and active aviation restoration shop. Inside the museum, a flock of steel birds suspended on wires hangs from the hangar’s expansive ceiling. A replica of Matthew Sellers’ 1908 quadraplane—the first aircraft built and flown in Kentucky—headlines the museum collection, extending its majestic wings to shake the hands of awestruck visitors. Other exceptional designs include a Skyhawk once flown by the Navy’s Blue Angels, an F-14 Tomcat jet-fighter as seen in the film Top Gun, and a high-bypass turbofan used to propel modern jumbo jets.
Guided tours and interactive exhibits delve into the science and history of flight, while the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame honors the lives of those who have soared among the clouds, whether in planes or wrapped around the waist of Michael Jordan. Young ones, meanwhile, can learn more about the variety of aviation careers and set their sights on following the tailwinds of famous pilots and designers.