The Aviation Museum names the summer camp after the Eastern KY pilot.

For some, flying is a hobby. For Lincoln Kilgore, it’s a way of life.

Kilgore, a Kentucky native, was honored at the last Aviation Summer Camp held at Kentucky’s nonprofit Lexington Aviation Museum for his contributions to camp and the museum.

While in the aviation program at Eastern Kentucky University, he worked as an instructor for the camp each summer. After graduating from EKU in 2021, Kilgore enrolled in the Officer Candidate School and graduated in December.

Now, the Lawrence County native is stationed at Naval Base Pensacola, Florida, but returned to Bluegrass to visit the camp where he developed his love for flying.

The camp, a two-day introduction to aviation and piloting, is offered for several weeks each summer throughout Kentucky. Campers ages 10 to 17 learn to fly from professional instructors, and many bring a family member with an aviation background.

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Ensign Lincoln Kilgore talks to students in flight simulators during Aviation Summer Camp Friday, June 24, 2022 at the Museum of Aviation at Bluegrass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky. Michel Clubb [email protected]

While working at the camp, Kilgore said his favorite activity was teaching a flight simulation course, which he said was “a blast”.

“On the flight simulation, we teach (kids) to fly from Lexington to Frankfort, Georgetown and back,” Kilgore said. “Watching young adults feel this love and pleasure…it’s wonderful. It means the world.

The camp has been in existence for 27 years, and each summer a two-day session is named for someone to commemorate their work for the museum. June 23-24 is Lexington’s last session for the summer, and it has been named “ENS Lincoln Kilgore Aviation Camp”.

Hunter Moore, the aviation museum’s director of operations, said Kilgore embodies the camp’s vision of teaching young people about aviation and educating future generations of pilots, which is the museum’s core mission. It was this dedication that inspired the museum to name a camp after it.

“He’s just an exceptional young man,” Moore said. “He is an ideal representative of the army.”

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Ensign Lincoln Kilgore US Navy

Museum board administrator Jerry Landreth said the camp provides an introduction to the many career options in aviation, such as administration and piloting, and many students have gone on to work in the domain.

Kilgore said he keeps in touch with the campers he taught at this museum, and at least 20 of them have gone on to aviation careers.

“There were a few students (who) messaged me and said, ‘Mr. Kilgore…you really helped me figure out, like, this is what I wanted to do with my life. And to me, that means everything,” he said.

Kilgore said he “choked up a bit” when told of plans to name a camp after him.

“It’s a huge honour. I love the museum, I love Kentucky, I love Kentucky Air Force,” he said. “It was the highlight of my young professional career.”

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