A LABOR OF LOVE, TRIBUTE AND RESPECT
When the members of the Aviation Heritage Park (AHP) Board formulated the plans to restore a HU-1 “Huey” helicopter for display at the park, someone suggested Jon Hunt, Professor of Collision Repair at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKYCTC) be the one to paint the helicopter.
When called, Jon gladly volunteered for service and began working with Jerry Roark and the other members of the board in preparation for the task. Hunt had previously volunteered to paint the parks F-4 jet on which he sprayed 28 gallons of paint (4 colors) over a period of four days, with 24 hours of painting. “Although spraying technique on an aircraft is similar to an automobile, the enormous size of the aircraft proved to be quite a challenge,” said Hunt.
The Aviation Heritage team did the prep, sanding and masking of the helicopter, then Hunt, along with retired General Motors employees Don Davis and Mike Bertlanter, came in for the 12 hours of painting over a 2-day period.
“I volunteered to help show respect and honor for our veterans,” Hunt said. “The guys at the Aviation Heritage Park are great folks,” Hunt says. “Just listening to their experiences has been a history lesson for me and has heightened my respect for those who flew these aircraft to protect us and our way of life.”
The restored HU-1 “Huey helicopter was revealed at a Hanger Party June 16, 2018 at the Warren County Airport in honor of those who flew this aircraft in Vietnam.
“The Huey made a public appearance at last year’s Hangar Party, a few months after AHP acquired it from the United States Air Force’s aircraft storage facility in Tucson, Ariz., known as the Boneyard and before its restoration,” said Bob Pitchford, member of the AHP’s Board of Directors. “It was dirty, it had spent her last 35 years in the desert but we were so proud of it,” he said. The Huey was the most widely used aircraft of the Vietnam War, Pitchford said. “It is the sight and sound of the Vietnam War.”.
Also honored at the unveiling was U.S. Army pilot Col. Raymond T. Nutter, RET. who flew the Huey in Vietnam. Col. Nutter passed away in 2006.