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Forward Air Controller’s Museum at Veterans Memorial Air Park

30 November 2012

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.

Cessna O-1 Bird Dog in the livery of the North Carolina Forest Service after FAC duties during the Vietnam War — photo by Joseph May

Cessna O-2 Skymaster, successor to the O-1, the extra engine was appreciated — photo by Joseph May

O-2 Skymaster modified for nocturnal missions, note the visor mounted on the door to mask external light, with the wing, for better downward visibility — photo by Joseph May

North American OV-10 Bronco in USAF livery. Bigger and more heavily armed than the O-1 and O-2 aircraft — photo by Joseph May

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:

Later posts on individual aircraft there will occur, as well 🙂

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 30 November 2012 01:11

    It was a pleasure to have you folks visit and thanks for the kind words. In point of FACt, we have more than just the few FAC airplanes you mentioned. We also have a array of FAST FAC aircraft, TA-4, F-14, F-4, T-37 and T-33. Just another aspect of FACing most people are unaware of.

    All that said, it is always nice to know that knowledgeable people appreciate our humble offerings. We us all of it to inspire our youth to careers in aviation and education.

    Thanks for stopping by and again thanks for the kind words.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      30 November 2012 09:36

      So good to hear from you. I did not mean to seem as if I had omitted so many of your aircraft, my apologies for the confusion.

      What I did was cover them, as well as VMAP, on last Monday’s post (where the FAST FAC a/c were covered though I need to research the term and write about it — there will be individual posts on those a/c as well), the B-36 museum on last Wedensday’s post, the FAC museum on last Friday’s post — then the OV-10 museum on the post next Monday. I then sorted the photos and assigned them to their respective posts. Simply put, the aircraft cannot be shown in one post alone, you have too many for that 😉

      You illustrate an excellent point in the lack of awareness of FAC aircraft, FAC pilots and their missions. That is one of the reasons your museum is so exciting — and I do need to catch up.

      Thanks again,


  2. Stuart M. Sibitzky permalink
    22 January 2017 23:02

    We were young. We were invincible. And we were dedicated!
    I need to come out and see the museum.
    Stuart Martin
    19th TASS, 1968
    USAF, Retired

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      23 January 2017 12:12

      What a way to live 🙂 The museum is worth the trip. Get Tex BBQ too 🙂

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