|Air Park / Multiple Museum Facility Celebrates Grand Opening – July 17, 2010|
By OBA Staff
FORT WORTH, TX – July 26, 2010 – The long anticipated public opening of the Veterans Memorial Air Park and museums occurred on Sunday, July 18th, 2010 at 11 AM. After a year of renovations and planning, the facility at 3300 Ross Avenue in Ft. Worth (on the south end of Meacham Field, west of Main off Long Avenue) will be available for visitors Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 am to noon, Saturdays from 9 am to 5 pm and Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm. Admission is $5.00 for adults, $1.00 for youngsters ages 6 to 16, and free for younger children. Families can pay a single admission fee of $10.00. “Follow Me” tour guides will be available to conducted guided tours of the collections, free of charge.The Veterans Memorial Air Park is the home of the B-36 Peacemaker Museum, the Forward Air Controller’s Museum (FACM) and the OV-10 Bronco Association (OBA). The airpark also has seventeen aircraft on display, most of which have histories attached to the Fort Worth area. Aircraft built in the area include a rare Convair TF-102 Delta Dagger (partially built in Fort Worth), a General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark fighter-bomber, a Vought RF-8 Crusader photo reconnaissance aircraft, and an A-7 Corsair II ground attack aircraft (both built in Grand Prairie). Other aircraft available for viewing were stationed and flown here by the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. These include the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II, Grumman F-14D Tomcat, and Republic F-105 Thunderchief fighter jets; a McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk ground attack aircraft, and the museums namesake, two North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco observation and forward air control aircraft, among other types.
The museum’s indoor displays include a presentation by the Fort Worth Air and Space Museum Foundation on aviation history in North Texas; the B-36 Peacemaker Museum, highlighting the design and manufacturing of the B-36 bomber at Plant No. 4 (at the present site of the Lockheed Martin aircraft production facility) and many of the other military aircraft and the people who designed, built and flew them here. This portion of the display contains many rare Fort Worth-related items.
The Forward Air Controller’s Museum (aka FAC Museum or FACM) tells the history of the role of Forward Observers in the development of military aviation and communications in the role of Close Air Support, all the way from its inception in 1794 in France with balloons to the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAV’s of today. The exhibition has a special emphasis on the “Golden Age of Forward Air Control” during the Vietnam War, and contains many rare items from that era. The Bronco Ready Room, used for presentations, replicates a squadron meeting room and exhibits a large collection of OV-10 Bronco artwork. In addition, visitors can see a presentation of aviation photography by noted aviation author and photographer Jay Miler in the Learning Center and library. Aviation movies are also available for continuous viewing throughout the museum.
The three primary goals of the museum are Preservation, Inspiration and Education. To emphasize this, the Air Park will offer special programs for local middle and elementary schools in association with the Tarrant County College Department of Aviation. The facility will also be available for special use rentals and private tours.
The Veterans Memorial Air Park is a Blue Star Museum. This designation is a partnership among Blue Star Families, the National Endowment for the Arts, and more than 750 museums in all 50 states to offer free admission to military personnel and their families from Memorial Day, May 31, 2010, through Labor Day, September 6, 2010.
The Fort Worth Veteran’s Memorial Air Park and the Forward Air Controller’s Museum is owned and operated by the OV-10 Bronco Association, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the preservation of historic combat aircraft and other aspects of military aviation. In addition, these groups strive to inspire youth to careers in aviation and provide various educational opportunities to the general public. The B-36 Peacemaker Museum is a tenant of the Veterans Memorial Air Park and also enjoys a 501(c)3 non-profit status.