|By Mark Nankivil|
Later in the day, we stopped by the former Naval Air Station Olathe, KS, which today is known as New Century AirCenter. NAS Olathe opened in October, 1942 and Marine Corps pilot and future astronaut John Glenn was in the first class to be trained
there. After WWII, the base hosted F6F Hellcats, F4U Corsairs and F8F Bearcats, PB4Y-2 Privateers and R5D (C-54 in USAF parlance and DC-4 in the civilian world). The transition to jets came with the FJ-1 Fury. In the early '60s, the Douglas F4D Skyray and Vought F8U Crusader were operated there by VMF-215. The base was closed by the Navy in 1970 and a few years later, the Johnson County Airport Commission repurposed the facilities into an industrial park and commercial airport. The Kansas Army National Guard F-158th Aviation Regiment also operates CH-47 Chinooks out of New Century AirCenter. In the Naval Air Park, there are three aircraft on display, an A-7E Corsair II, a TA-7C Corsair II and a A-4L Skyhawk. A-4 s were used at the Air Station just before its closure but, the A-7s did not serve at Olathe.