2 years after crash, Curtiss JN-4 Jenny plane takes to the skies in Bowling Green

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Nearly two years ago, in August of 2017, one of America's treasures, a locally-owned Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, crashed in Bowling Green.

"The airplane took off from Bowling Green and experienced some unusual atmospheric conditions that threw it into a flight condition that meant that it wasn't going to go up, it was going to go down," said Dorian Walker, the owner of the plane, and part of the Friends of Jenny organization.

The historic "trainer" plane, originating from 1917, had already been restored by Walker and other volunteers.

"It's one of 7 in the world flying, the only one in the world that flies cross-country," Walker explained.

After the accident, the plane was totaled.

But its purpose in sharing a piece of history from World War 1 and beyond - proved to be a calling.

"We believed that the mission was more important than the inconvenience and the money that it would cost to bring this back to life," said Walker.

Today's version of the plane became airborne in fall of 2018.

And now that mission can once again be easily seen and heard overhead.

"Early aviation is a really important part of American history. It's not just about flying -- it's about American entrepreneurship, American industry, about dreamers, about aviators, about people that push the envelope -- whether it's Amelia Earhart, who learned to fly in this airplane, or Charles Lindbergh, who learned to fly in this airplane, or Gary, who I took up for his first ride in this airplane today," Walker smiled.

For Gary Gammon, a Franklin resident, soaring over town in the aircraft has been a moment one year in the making.

"It was just a dream come true, truly amazing," said Gammon.

Outbid during an auction event that fundraised for Lost River Cave, his winning friend surprised him with the ticket to a flight on Ms. Jenny.

"He gave it to me, and here it is now a year later and taking a ride, so it was amazing," said Gammon

Taking off and touching down are surprisingly smooth on the wooden plane.

"It's been to 16 states -- been seen by over two million people in the last four and a half years," said Walker.

It glides at the speed of your car on I-65, giving a picture-perfect view of town.

"It was everything I was expecting, and more! So it was very fun," said Gammon, following the ride.

The Jenny plane is planned to continue touring across the country, in hopes that many more can learn from her legacy.

"I am privileged, I pinch myself -- every time I fly it, it's like the first time," said Walker.

For more information on Friends of Jenny,
go to their website.

The Get Down fundraiser that benefits Lost River Cave will be going on Saturday, July 27.