By Bill Stansbeary
Andy Parks, president of the LaFayette Foundation and the Colorado International Aviation Museum, is intent on carrying on the lifelong dream of his late father, Dr. James Parks. That dream is “bringing aviation history to life.”
Dr. Parks founded and served as president of the LaFayette Foundation, a collection set up to preserve the history of the LaFayette Flying Corps, an American unit of fliers recruited by the French government.
That collection is now on display at the recently opened Colorado International Aviation Museum. Located at Platte Valley Airport (18V), near Ft. Lupton and Hudson, Colo., the museum spans aviation history from the dawn of aviation to the present. It houses perhaps the world’s largest collection of WWI aviation memorabilia. The LaFayette Foundation collection includes materials from Manfred von Richthofen (The Red Baron), the LaFayette Flying Corps, Eddie Rickenbacker, and over 60 WWI aces of both of the Allied and Axis countries.
On May 20, the museum served as a backdrop for a special awards ceremony. On that date, three men were awarded honorary LaFayette Flying Corps memberships.
In 1983, Dr. Parks organized and hosted the final reunion of the LaFayette Flying Corps. He later became LaFayette Flying Corps honorary member number nine; Charles Lindbergh was number 8. The newest members are Walter “Corky” Motter (#32), Nick Rucker (#33), and Jerry Priddy (#34).