History of Willie McCool Field
Established in 1991, McCool Regional Park is the most northerly park site in the City of North Las Vegas Park system. The City operates the park through a lease with the Bureau of Land Management. Bordered by protected open space, the park is used as both an Aircraft fly field and an experimental nursery, making it a truly unique place. Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) registered pilots fly Aircraft daily, with special meets and competitions sponsored by various clubs and organizations.
At the west end of the park, the University of Nevada at Reno and the Cooperative Extension Service has established an experimental farm to test water usage and the adaptability of non-native plants to our harsh desert climate. McCool Regional Park is large, with plenty of land remaining open for a variety of future recreational use
Space Shuttle Columbia crewman William "Willie" McCool is honored at the park with a plaque. The field's name memorializes Willie McCool.
North Las Vegas named the city's model airplane park the Willie McCool Memorial Air Field during a dedication ceremony, Oct. 23, 2004.
The 4400 Horse Drive air field, called McCool Regional Park for short, was named for the pilot who was killed along with his seven-person crew on the Space Shuttle Columbia when Columbia disintegrated during re-entry into the atmosphere on February 1, 2003.
McCool's parents, Audrey and Barry McCool, are professors at UNLV. William Cameron "Willie" McCool (September 23, 1961 – February 1, 2003), was an American naval officer and aviator, test pilot, aeronautical engineer, and NASA astronaut, who was the pilot of Space Shuttle Columbia mission STS-107. He was the youngest male member of the crew.
The Oct. 23, 2004 dedication ceremony included the unveiling of a memorial sign donated by model airplane-flying groups.
The park eventually will include sports fields, picnic sites, playgrounds and park lighting.
Park design is scheduled to begin in 2006 and work should be completed a couple years later. The $25 million in improvements will be paid for through proceeds via the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act.
The North Las Vegas City Council in December of 2003 approved naming the 160-acre park to honor McCool.
Article in LVRJ View Newspaper October 23, 2004