Each month we highlight an airstrip with hopes that you will get out and enjoy these special places. This month, we’re featuring Tullahoma Regional in Tennessee.
The small city of Tullahoma, Tennessee can rightfully boast of its big aviation culture. Right on the field you can take in displays of vintage Beechcraft aircraft at the world renown Beechcraft Heritage Museum. Leading-edge avionics technology is produced by the region’s largest employer, Arnold Engineering and Development Center, considered the world’s most advanced and largest complex of flight simulation and test facilities.
The regional airport, KTHA south of Nashville and west of Chattanooga, was originally built during WWII, sturdy enough for B24 and B25 bombers. The community has continually improved it, maintaining a parallel turf runway. “It’s hard to find places like this east of the Mississippi,” Museum President Charles Parish says. You can land on one of two turf runways, taxi on the grass, tie down in Beech Park and camp under your wing near the visitor pavilion with shower house, tables, stove, refrigerator – a place for you and your aircraft to escape inclement weather. There is a fire ring and stocked firewood. “We’re centrally located. A good place to stop on your way to Sun ’n Fun or Oshkosh,” Parish added. He points out that a visit at Tullahoma’s Beech Park can offer economical recreation for the family.
Beginning with Mr. Parish’s father, John, his family has been deeply involved in the museum facility. “It’s our Boy Scout background. We were raised to make a difference,” he says. He explains that the museum board is creating “more than bricks and mortar,” more of a campus atmosphere within its quiet natural wooded setting, surprisingly close to Tullahoma and all it has to offer.
AOPA chose Tullahoma for both 2015 and 2019 Regional Fly-Ins, hosting about 600 aircraft for each event. If rock music is your passion, come in June for Manchester’s Music Festival, just 15 miles from the airport. Being Tennessee, regional distilleries offer tours and tastings. Visitors interested in Civil War history may appreciate that citizens of this southern state were thrown into the tragedy of the Civil War when Tennessee seceded from the Union. The town is the final resting place for over four hundred Confederate soldiers.
Tullahoma’s turf runways are seasonal, as are the camping facilities, typically operational from May through October. Find more about Tullahoma in the Airfield Guide. The Beechcraft Heritage Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday, 9 am to 4 pm and its website includes information on ingress and egress from Beech Park.
Submitted January 31, 2024
By Carmine Mowbray
Photos courtesy of Beech Park