LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – An exhibit on the Bell Helicopter model AH-1, called “The Cobra” and developed for the Vietnam War, is now open at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky, Blue Grass Airport, in Lexington.
The Cobra was the first purpose-built attack helicopter gunship developed for the United States military, growing out of attempts to arm another Bell helicopter, the UH-1, or “Huey”. The AH-1 prototype first flew in September 1965, and was ready for combat missions in Vietnam two years later. Designed for just a pilot, a gunner, and various weapon systems, the Cobra was faster, more agile in the sky, and could provide much needed support for the operations based on helicopter mobility during the Vietnam War. Pilots who flew the “Snake” in combat considered it a superior flying and fighting machine. Upgraded models of the AH-1 are still flown by the US Marine Corps, and will serve beyond 2025. A civilian model is flown by the US Forest Service for forest fire detection and suppression.
“This display on the Cobra has a perfect complement,” said David Riggins, COO of the aviation museum. “There is an AH-1 is in the museum collection, with combat service over Vietnam. Our guests can gain a true appreciation of this aircraft and how impressive it is.”
The Aviation Museum of Kentucky is a partner in the United States Commemoration of the Vietnam War, a national observance. The location is 4029 Airport Road, adjacent to Blue Grass Airport in Lexington. It is the official aviation museum of the Commonwealth as well as home to the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame, and operates as a non-profit corporation. For more information, visit www.aviationky.org, or call 859-231-1219.