The Wright Brothers "Master Pilot Award" was presented by the FAA to CAF Col Bobby Grantham, CAF Col Steve Richmond and CAF Col Gene Hathorn at the Corsicana AirSho on Saturday, May 13.
Corsicana, Texas - (May 21, 2017) Three members of the Coyote Squadron, a unit of the Commemorative Air Force based in Corsicana, Texas received the Master Pilot Award. The Wright Brothers “Master Pilot Award” is the most prestigious award that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issues to pilots certified under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
It is named after the Wright Brothers, the first American pilots, to recognize individuals who have exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise for at least 50 years. This award has been given to less than 3,200 pilots nationwide since its inception and the fact that three pilots in one unit received this prestigious award is highly unusual. Grantham, Richmond and Hathorn are all pilots with the CAF and fly aircraft that are assigned to the Coyote Squadron, including World War II trainers, the PT-19 and the AT-19.
Tuskegee Airmen Story Coming to May 20 Living Aviation History Day
Record-setting group overcame obstacles in WWII and beyond
. (May 15, 2017) – The renowned Tuskegee Airmen and their successors in the U.S. Air Force broke many barriers on their way to aviation history. Researcher/Historian Zellie Orr and a panel of Tuskegee Airmen and successors will discuss the stories of this famed group at the May 20 Living Aviation History program, presented by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing Museum. The program will begin at 11 a.m. in the museum hangar located at 1200 Echo Ct., Peachtree City, Georgia. The building is adjacent to Atlanta Regional Airport – Falcon Field. General admission is $10, veterans and those serving in active military service will be admitted for free.
Originally aided by Eleanor Roosevelt and others who supported the aspirations of African-Americans to fly in the military, Tuskegee Airmen went on to set many types of combat and other records during World War II. Struggles awaited after the War, in spite of the obstacles, the next generation of airmen continued to shatter barriers. Orr will tell the story of how the 332nd Fighter Group won the first USAF Worldwide (Conventional Class) Aerial Gunnery Competition in 1949, and how 55 years later, she located the “missing” (three-foot high) trophy presented to them. Panelists will discuss their aviation experiences and stories to round out this discussion.
"Zellie Orr has done years of detailed research in developing the narrative she will portray at her Living History Series presentation, said program moderator Rick Ector. “The result of her work is a totally engaging story that she presents with enthusiasm and passion. It's a story history enthusiasts won't want to miss."
For more information about Living Aviation History Days or the CAF Dixie Wing Warbird Museum, please go to www.dixiewing.org.
About the CAF Dixie Wing Warbird Museum
The CAF Dixie Wing, based in Peachtree City, Ga., was founded in 1987. The Wing, one of the largest units of the Commemorative Air Force, maintains and flies seven WWII aircraft including a P-51 Mustang, an FG-1D Corsair and rare types such as the SBD Dauntless dive bomber and P-63A Kingcobra. The Dixie Wing organizes two large events a year -- WWII Heritage Days and the Atlanta Warbird Weekend. The unit, composed of 300 volunteers, is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that relies on contributions of time and funds to carry out the mission of the CAF. For more information, go to www.dixiewing.org.
The is a non-profit organization dedicated to flying and restoring World War II aircraft. Based in Dallas, the organization has more than 11,000 members and operates a fleet of more than 166 WWII aircraft.
Public Information Officer
CAF Dixie Wing
Commemorative Air Force Missouri Wing Host Aviation Event in St. Louis Memorial Day Weekend
(St. Louis – May 10, 2017) – This Memorial Day Weekend the skies of St. Louis will be full of authentic World War II aircraft that will fly into Spirit of St. Louis Airport. The 3-day event runs Saturday, May 27 through Monday, May 29 and is open to the public. Historic aircraft including authentic bombing and training aircraft will be on display and available for rides. These aircraft are powerful American icons bringing the sights, sounds, and stories of World War II aviation to St. Louis area.
The event will be open to the public May 27 - 29, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This event will take place at the Tac air ramp, 18260 Edison Avenue, Chesterfield, Missouri 63005. The requested donation for ramp access is $5 for adults and $2 for students ages 11‐17. Children ages 10 and under are free. Aircraft tours are included in ramp access, aircraft rides are an additional cost. Aircraft ride prices range from $95 to $895 and advance ride reservations are encouraged. For additional information or to book a ride visit wingsoverstlouis.com.
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Commemorative Air Force
PO Box 637
St. Charles, MO 63302
Bob Lawrence, Unit Leader
About the CAF Missouri Wing
The Missouri Wing of the Commemorative Air Force is a local unit which is assigned to maintain and fly three rare World War II aircraft. Based just outside of St. Louis at St. Charles County Smartt Airport. The wing operates through a group of volunteer members to accomplish the goal Educate Through Living History by allowing future generations to see, participate with, and re-live the lessons learned from the defining moments of American military aviation history. You can learn more about the wing and how to get involved by visiting www.cafmo.org.
About the Commemorative Air Force (CAF):
The Commemorative Air Force honors the men and women who built, maintained, and flew in these airplanes during World War II. The organization believes that is best accomplished by maintaining the airplanes in flying condition; taking the airplanes to the people allowing them to experience the aircraft up close and in flight.
Collecting, restoring and flying historical aircraft for more than 60 years, the Commemorative Air Force is the largest private air force in the world. The CAF is dedicated to Honoring American Military Aviation through Flight, Exhibition, Education and Remembrance. The CAF is a non-profit educational organization with over 11,000 members and a fleet of 165 airplanes distributed to 60 locations throughout the country. For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org.
Remembering Someone Else
by Bill Prosser, CAF Inland Empire Wing Leader
Photo by Camm Kirk
(Riverside, California - May 11, 2017) The following is a portion of an article that I wrote as the Executive Officer of the Inland Empire Wing many years ago. Let me begin by saying that this article Does Not Apply to the Inland Empire Wing as it is now, I will explain more later.
We are all saddened to learn this week of the death of one of our wings most valuable members, Someone Else. Someone’s passing created a vacancy that will be difficult to fill. Else has been with us for many years, and for every one of those years, Someone did far more than a normal person’s share of the work. Whenever leadership was mentioned, this wonderful person was looked to for inspiration as well as results: "Someone Else can work with that group." Whenever there was a job to do, a floor to sweep, a PX to get ready for an airshow or a plane to wash, one name was on everyone’s lists- Someone Else! "Let Someone Else do it" was a common refrain heard throughout the wing.
It was common knowledge that Someone Else was among the largest givers in the wing. Whenever there was a financial need, everyone just assumed Someone Else would make up the difference. Someone Else was a wonderful person, sometimes appearing superhuman; but a person can only do so much. Were the truth known, everybody expected too much of Someone Else. Now Someone Else is gone! We wonder what we are going to do. Someone Else left a wonderful example to follow, but who is going to follow it? Who is going to do the things Someone Else did? Remember – we can’t depend on Someone Else anymore.”
As I said this Does Not Apply to the IEW as it is now.
We have raised the bar in moving our wing forward. There is no going backwards, we must stay the course. Is it perfect? Not yet, but we are working that way. Folks are not relying on “Someone Else” to get things done. Our members continually step up and make happen whatever is needed. Our members are being proactive in getting things done, not waiting around for someone to ask them to do something.
Next time you visit the hangar take a minute to look around. For the most part and most of the time we are looking more like a museum inside and out. That’s because of you, our members. As we move forward it will be more and more important that we look like a museum all the time inside and out. Everything in its place, all the time (if possible). In the coming weeks, we will be developing somewhat of a written procedure/structure for folks to follow as to where certain large items belong all the time, from golf carts to airplanes to stanchions to display cases, tables, chairs, everything. This will be difficult in the beginning, old
habits are hard to break, but if we don’t rely on “Someone Else” we will make it happen, raising that bar again.
Over the past several months, it has kinda felt like the museum has stalled a little. Rest assured things are happening behind the scenes. You will see more improvements soon. The blank canvas will not be blank much longer.
In closing, I would like to thank each of you for your continued support. We cannot move forward without you. Our members are our greatest asset. I am enjoying serving you as Wing Leader. It is an honor to hold this position, I will continue to do my best!
Debbie King will fly the B-29 Superfortress this weekend in California
[May 5, 2017, Thermal, California]- Debbie King, the first woman to fly the B-29 since World War II, will fly as co-pilot on FIFI, the Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) iconic Boeing B‐29 Superfortress. The World War II Bomber will be at at Cochran Regional Airport in Thermal, CA for a five-day tour stop. It will fly this weekend at 9 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
The tour stop is part of the CAF WWII AirPower History Tour, a group of flying World War II aircraft including fighter, transport and trainer aircraft. All aircraft are available to the public for tours and rides (additional fees may apply for access.)
The iconic B-29 make its mark in history when in 1944, young World War II pilots were intimidated by the new and complicated B-29. Lt. Col. Paul W. Tibbets came up with a solution to calm the nerves of his male pilots. His solution was to show the men it was “so easy even a woman could do it.” After only three days of training, Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) Dora Dougherty Strother and Dorothea “Didi” Johnson Moorman, the two female pilots were readied to show their skills piloting the B-29. Dora and Didi spent several days ferrying pilots, crew chiefs and navigators. The male pilots decided Tibbets was right, that flying the B-29 would be easy done.
Debbie likes to tell this story when she is touring with the B-29. She is the only woman in the world since 1943 authorized to fly the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. Debbie began earning her flight certificates in high school and finished them in college at Texas A&M University. She earned her CFI and CFII directly after and later earned her jet ratings and Air Transport Pilot certificate. She has been an on-demand charter pilot, and now tours with the CAF B-29 as a volunteer pilot.
While Debbie is a rare female pilot, the B-29 Superfortress is also rare. FIFI is one of only two remaining airworthy B-29s in the world and the only one that flies regularly. The Boeing B‐29 Superfortress, first flown in 1942, began active service in 1944 and is best known as the aircraft whose missions over Japan helped bring about the end of World War II. It was designed as a replacement for the older B‐17s and B‐24s, with longer range and greater bomb loads. The airplane represented state of the art technology at the time. The B‐29 was also used in the Korean War in the early 1950s and was a staple of the U.S. Air Force until the late 1950s.
ABOUT THE EVENT:
For the tour stop at Cochran Regional Airport the B-29 will be accompanied by other vintage military aircraft including an extremely rare A6M Japanese Zero, C‐45 Expeditor, and a T‐6 Texan. Visitors may tour the B‐29 cockpit and purchase rides in the B-29, C-45, and T-6.
WHERE: Cochran Regional Airport, Desert Jet, 56600 Invader Avenue, Thermal, CA 92274
WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7, at 9 a.m.
The donation for ramp access is $10 for adults and $5 for children age 11‐17. Children age 10 and under are free. The airplanes will be on static display when they are not flying. Ride prices range from $75 to $1795 and reservations may be made at http://www.AirPowerTour.org where additional information about the tour stop may also be found. FIFI, celebrating her 43rd year with the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) in 2017, is visiting local airports throughout the United States as the feature aircraft in the CAF AirPower History Tour. The tour brings aircraft, pilots and crews from over 60 CAF units located throughout the country together to create an ever changing assortment of touring military airplanes. These aircraft are powerful history lessons bringing the sights, sounds and stories of World War II aviation history to audiences across the United States. Learn more about FIFI and her tour schedule at www.AirPowerTour.org.