ST. GEORGE – The sights and sounds of planes flying in the skies above St. George is nothing new. However, in February of 2011, local residents were treated to something new – the roar of a MiG 15 soaring overhead. While the sight of a Soviet-produced jet fighter over a US city has nowhere near the same impact now that it would have had 60 years ago, it is nonetheless an amazing piece of wild-blue-yonder history.
The MiG 15 – a jet fighter largely used during the Korean War – that flew over the city belongs to the Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum. While its current non-flyable brethren – another MiG 15, a MiG 17, and a British Jet Provost – were relocated to the new airport by a tow, this one took to the skies for the journey.
What’s that? Some people have never even heard of the Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum?
“I hear that a lot,” said Rich Grinnel, the museum’s public relations coordinator. He’s hoping that the public’s current lack of knowledge concerning the museum’s existence will be remedied with its upcoming grand reopening on May 20-21 of this year.
The Warbird Museum will be celebrating its first anniversary in conjunction with the Classic Jet Aircraft Association’s (CJAA) forth annual Jet Blast. The Jet Blast itself is not an air show, but a training event. Still, attendees will be able to watch classic aircraft fly at the new airport. Among the aircraft involved in the celebration will be a P-51 Mustang and T-33 Shooting Star. The event will also be paying homage to the past, present and future members of the US armed forces. Additional events at the Warbird museum will include aircraft displays, veterans’ booths, memorabilia, a silent auction, and a special treat: two World War 2 fighter aces signing autographs.
Grinnel added that individuals who make donations of $300 to the museum before May 18 will be able to take a ride on a T-6 Texan plane. After that, a donation of $350 will be asked for in exchange for a flight in the T-6. Potential flyers must be 18 or older.
Founded by Jack Hunter, retired US Air Force colonel, the Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of historic aircraft. It also exists to help educate the public about war aviation history and the sacrifices made by the brave souls that flew in defense of freedom.
On Friday and Saturday, May 20 and 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., head out to the new St. George Municipal Airport and take in the sights of sounds of historic planes and the stories behind them.
For more information, visit the Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum website: http://www.westernskywarbirds.org.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2011, all rights reserved.