Unique museum on wings to visit Aviation Museum in Lexington

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The Spirit of Freedom, a C-54 Skymaster that flew in the Berlin Airlift, on display at Aviation Museum at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington in October 2017

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Spirit of Freedom, an actual transport aircraft that flew in the 1948-1949 Berlin Airlift and is now a flying museum about the operation, is visiting the Aviation Museum of Kentucky during October 6-8 at Blue Grass Airport.

The aircraft will be on the airport ramp for public tours. One charge will provide admission to the museum and to the aircraft. Admission is $10 for adults 17 and up; $7 for children 6-16; under five, free admission.

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Hours are 10a-5p Friday and Saturday, October 6 and 7, and 1p-5p on Sunday October 8.

Due to FAA regulations, flights in the aircraft cannot be offered.

The Spirit of Freedom is a Douglas C-54 Skymaster and is operated by the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation of New Jersey.

Its exterior is painted in the colors of the 48th Troop Carrier Squadron, one of the units that participated in the Berlin Airlift.

American planes flew nearly 92 million miles and completed over 189,900 missions, flying food, supplies and coal from then Allied-occupied West Germany into Berlin, surrounded by Soviet-held territory that later became East Germany.

The Airlift became known as Operation Vittles, brought about by a Soviet blockade of land routes into the city. The French and British air forces participated as well. Cargo flights began on June 26, 1948 and ended September 30, 1949.

Over 1.5 million tons of supplies were flown in to assure that citizens in the Allied zones of Berlin would survive.

“The Spirit tells the story of our country at one of its finest hours,” said museum board chair Jim McCormick. “It is also US Air Force history, America on the world stage, the Cold War, and something every American can be proud of.”

The Aviation Museum of Kentucky is a non-profit institution and is home to the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame. It is the official aviation museum of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

It is located at 4029Airport Road, adjacent to Blue Grass Airport.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.