Forward Air Controller’s Museum at Veterans Memorial Air Park
32º 48′ 12″ N / 97º 21′ 15″ W
When it comes to flying, Forward Air Controller’s (FACs) have a unique blend of responsibilities and skills. FAC pilots must have situational awareness in four dimensions with regard to arriving attack aircraft which will be helicopter, fighter or heavy bomber — keeping tabs on ordnance loads, orbits and fuel states. They also must be able to perceive what is occurring on the ground, where the friendly troops are and where the targets (commonly enemy ground forces) are — often with less than complete information. All of this, and in a highly dynamic environment, while coordinating over as many as three radio nets as well as reading ground scale maps and aeronautical charts to call in the proper ordnance delivery to the correct location at the best time. Having an observer along would help and is occasionally done, but is not the usual case. Having more than two arms and two pairs of ears would also likely be a great advantage though these would disqualify a candidate from flight school and becoming a FAC pilot.
It has been said that fighter pilots make movies and bomber pilots make history — but FAC pilots go unheralded. You can then understand the satisfaction when visiting the Forward Air Controller’s Museum, which is a member of the Veterans Memorial Air Park, in Fort Worth, Texas. There is a discreet portion of the museum set aside within the main building for the FAC Museum. It is well appointed with rare and unusual artifacts. Outside on the grounds are five FAC aircraft representing three types dating from the Vietnam War which were primarily utilized for FAC missions. Their website also has many photos as well as links to written history professionally done.
Only a short drive from Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) or Dallas Love Field (DAL) the Forward Air Controller’s Museum is located within the Veterans Memorial Air Park — which is nearly world class in nature. The entrance is best found by going to the intersection of West Long Avenue and Ross Avenue (at the southwest corner of Fort Worth Meacham International Airport [FTW] in Fort Worth, Texas) and driving a stone’s throw north on Ross.
Posts on the Veterans Memorial Air Park can be found by pasting the terms into the search window and selecting ENTER and a review of our visit there was posted earlier in the week.
My thanks again to Ike Gallop and especially to Marty and Jayne Davis — who also significantly support this blog — for making this trip possible.
Posts for the VMAP are on this schedule:
- Last Monday, Veterans Memorial Air Park
- Last Wednesday, the B-36 Peacemaker Museum
- Today, the Forward Air Controller’s Museum
- Following Monday, the OV-10 Bronco Museum
Later posts on individual aircraft there will occur, as well :)