Explore KY's Aviation History

Tour curated by: Explore Kentucky History Team

Some interesting things have happened as a result of aviation in Kentucky. There are stories of the lives of private and military pilots, airplane crashes, and aviation pioneers.

Aviation has always been important to Kentucky, whether it is used as entertainment, a mode of transportation, or for a military maneuver.

We hope you will enjoy exploring the history of aviation in Kentucky.

Locations for Tour

Historical Marker #2252 in Jefferson County commemorates the Aero Club of Louisville, the oldest continuously operating Aero Club in the United States. On October 26, 1922, 18 men met in the offices of Mayor Huston Quinn to form the Aero Club of…

Historical Marker #1901in Louisville commemorates the importance of Bowman Field and aviation in Kentucky. The need for an airport in Louisville began developing in 1910, when Glenn Curtiss flew a pusher-type aircraft from Churchill Downs. Interest…

Historical Marker #2343 commemorates American Airlines flight #383, which crashed in Boone County on November 8, 1965, as it was landing at the Greater Cincinnati Airport in Constance. American Airlines flight 383, a Boeing 727, was a non-stop…

Historical Marker #1731 commemorates Godman Field, an army airfield in Hardin County, which was established in October 1918 for the 29th Aero Squadron for World War I at Camp Knox. Its initial mission was to support Army forces at Fort Knox. After…

Glengarry Field/Cool Meadow Historical Marker #2439 in Fayette County commemorates Glengarry Field/Cool Meadow, the second airport in Lexington. With the development of larger multi-engine aircrafts and the restrictions on runway lengths, Halley…

Historical Marker #2440 in Fayette County commemorates Halley Field, Lexington’s first airport, located on Meadowthorpe Farm. Meadowthorpe was a well-known stock farm owned by Jacob Hostetter. A two-story Greek Revival house was built on the…

Historical Marker #1222 in Carter County remembers early aviation innovator Matthew Bacon Sellers. Matthew B. Sellers was born into a family of wealth and privilege. His father, also named Matthew, was born in Kentucky and had been a wealthy planter…

Historical Marker #1676 in Louisville notes Bowman Field, which is Kentucky’s oldest continuously operated public air field. When one thinks of Louisville airports, Standiford Field quickly comes to mind. But long before Louisville International…

Historical Marker #2344 in Boone County remembers the tragic crash of TWA Flight 128 on November 20, 1967. Trans World Airlines Flight 128 was a domestic flight scheduled to depart Los Angeles, California, and make stops at the Greater Cincinnati…

Historical Marker #2300 in Pine Knot remembers Corporal Edward Ward, the first US soldier named to the military’s new aviation program in 1907. To say that the US military was intrigued with the possibilities of the Wright brothers’ invention…

Historical Marker #2251 in Pikeville notes the numerous contributions made to aviation by early airman John Paul Riddle. New inventions bring about opportunities for those willing to think creatively and take chances. When the Wright brothers…

Historical Marker #2374 in Monterey notes Owen County’s first airfield, which was started by Harry Clark Karsner following World War II. Harry Clark Karsner had two passions: flying and sharing his faith. He was able to combine his enthusiasm for…

Historical Marker #2201 in Williamsburg remembers Roy Martis Chappell, who was one of the famous Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Roy Martis Chappell was born on September 27, 1927, in Williamsburg, Kentucky. When he was a young boy, his family…