Aviation enthusiasts flocked to the Ashland Regional Airport Thursday afternoon in response to reports of a pair of rare aircraft that had landed there while en route to a big airshow in Louisville.
Pilot Doug Hulse of Milford, N.J., said he and fellow flyer Andrew Swart, of Princeton, N.J., were on their way to this weekend’s Thunder Over Louisville air show and needed a place to refuel their vintage T-28 aircraft and grab some lunch. The Ashland Regional Airport had the best combination of cost per gallon for aviation gas and a good cheeseburger, he said.
Hulse, who flew helicopters for the military, said he bought the T-28 in 2003. The former military-training aircraft appealed to him on several levels, he said.
“It probably was the best for high performance and military history,” he said, noting the next level of aircraft in those categories would cost around a million dollars, compared to his T-28 Bravo, which was priced “in the low two-hundreds.”
His Bravo model was manufactured in 1955 and spent most of its career in Pensacola, Fla., with a little time in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Swart’s T-28 is a “C” or Charlie model, he noted, and was used almost exclusively for carrier training.
“He’s got the tail hook and I don’t,” he said with a chuckle.
Hulse said their visit to the Ashland area may have been decided by fuel prices and reports of a good lunch, but declared they will be back.
“We had the Ram Burger,” he said, offering his endorsement of their lunch at the nearby Rams Dairy Bar at 100 Scott St. in Worthington. “We will be back.”
Airport employee Judy Lewis said the pilots caused quite a stir when they landed, drawing out crowds of pilots who live in the immediate area.
“The fence row was lined with people taking pictures and videos,” she reported.
Lewis said she asked Hulse and Swart if the aircraft always cause such a “ruckus,” and she was surprised to hear them say they are sometimes considered a nuisance at larger airports that want to sell greater amounts of fuel than they can buy at one time. The pilots enjoyed the brief stop, she said, and even gave the appreciative airport crowd a low-altitude “fly by” to say goodbye as they departed for the airshow in Louisville.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2651.