Commemorative Air Force Blogs

Welcome to the Commemorative Air Force Blogs. A great way to stay informed about what is going on with the CAF.

Third Coast Stearman

Any news on the Stearman accident?

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12 Planes of Christmas

12planesofChristmas squarebuttonThe Flying Museum Board is still accepting applications to be a featured aircraft for the "12 Planes of Christmas."  Last year more than $100,000 was raised for individual aircraft and the Aircraft Restoration Grant Fund. This is a great opportunity, not only to raise funds, but to highlight the amount of hard work and dedication put forth by unit members.

Applications will be accepted until July 14th, So act now.

For more information, contact Flying Museum Board Chairman Alan Brooks at

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CAF 2016 Accident Summary

CAF 2016 Accident Summary

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA101

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation

Accident occurred Friday, May 06, 2016 in San Bernardino, CA

Aircraft: ANTONOV AN2, registration: N2AN

Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 06, 2016, about 1200 Pacific daylight time, an ANTONOV AN2 airplane, N2AN, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing, following a reported loss of engine power during approach to the San Bernardino International Airport, San Bernardino, California. The airplane was owned by the American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum, and was being operated by the pilot as a familiarization flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot and sole passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no Federal Aviation Administration flight plan had been filed for the flight. The airplane departed the Cable Airport, Upland, California, about 1145.

In a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, the pilot stated that the flight was a familiarization flight for a new member of their chapter of the Commemorative Air Force. The flight departed the Cable airport and flew east along the mountains, headed to San Bernardino. They contacted the San Bernardino tower and were instructed to enter the crosswind for runway 24. As part of the before landing checklist, the pilot turned on the carburetor heat and switched the fuel tank selector to the right fuel tank. Shortly thereafter, the engine lost all power. The pilot attempted numerous times to restart the engine, but was unsuccessful.

The pilot realized that he would not be able to reach the airport, and decided to make a forced landing to a small field in a residential area. During the landing approach, the airplane contacted a power line. After touching down in the field the airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted, which resulted in substantial damage to the wings and fuselage.

A detailed examination of the airframe and engine are pending.

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA172

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation

Accident occurred Saturday, April 30, 2016 in Tyrone, GA

Aircraft: CHAMPION 7BCM, registration: N7620B

Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

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On April 30, 2016, about 1057 eastern daylight time, a Champion 7BCM, N7620B, was substantially damaged following a partial loss of engine power and forced landing at Tyrone, Georgia. The airline transport pilot and one passenger were not injured. The airplane was registered to a corporation and was operated by the Commemorative Air Force under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a revenue sightseeing flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight from Atlanta Regional Airport (FFC), Peachtree City, Georgia originated about 1040.

According to the pilot, the airplane was level at 3,000 feet above mean sea level when the engine began to lose power. The pilot selected carburetor heat and no improvement was observed; the engine speed remained at 2,000 rpm. Carburetor heat was then turned off. The magnetos were checked and there was no significant change in performance noted. Carburetor heat was re-applied with no improvement; the pilot left it on for the remainder of the flight. The airplane would not maintain altitude, so the pilot configured the airplane for a forced landing in a hay field. After touchdown, the airplane bogged down in high vegetation and nosed down, collapsing the main landing gear. The pilot and passenger exited the airplane and were assisted by first responders.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. The airplane came to rest upright. Structural damage to the engine firewall and forward fuselage was evident. The main landing gear were collapsed under the airframe. The fuselage-mounted fuel tank contained fuel. A cursory visual examination of the engine revealed no evidence of a mechanical failure.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.


NTSB Identification: GAA16CA133

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation

Accident occurred Wednesday, February 03, 2016 in Dallas, TX

Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/05/2016

Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN P 51, registration: N61429

Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that he landed the airplane with the landing gear retracted, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage.

According to the pilot there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot further reported that this accident could have been prevented with a "higher degree" of diligence to checklists.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

  • The pilot's failure to extend the landing gear prior to landing, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage during landing.
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A Helping Hand - Review of CFR 43.3(g)

A Helping Hand - Review of CFR 43.3(g)

A Helping Hand - CFR 43.3(g)


I was 12 years old and an “Airport Brat” the first time I wrenched on an airplane.  I was riding my bike through the local community airport when I heard a voice calling from one of the hangars.  “Hey Kid…..hand me that wrench”.  It was like an old hardened voice.  “Grab that wrench over there.”  I sheepishly handed him what I thought was a wrench and leaned in closer to see what he was doing.  “You see kid, this old T-6 hasn’t flown in years, no sense letting it rot away, we got an airplane, and I intend to fly it”.  


I had never been up close to a T-6 before, nor had I been in the old hangar it sat in. The walls were lined with pictures of old blue airplanes. “Captain Chuck Downey is the name, the pictures you see on that wall are all of my friends.”  “How about this picture” I asked, pointing to a young man with a leather cap.  “That was me sitting in my SB2C, I was only 18 years old. Now lets get back at it and hold this wrench”. 


The CAF operates more than 5000 flight hours each year and that means there is a lot of maintenance that happens.  Hats are off to all of the hard working volunteers who spend countless hours loving on our airplanes to keep them airworthy.  Our maintenance volunteers are some of the hardest working and dedicated people in our Organization. 


Its also common practice for much of our CAF aircraft maintenance to be accomplished by non-certificated mechanics.  This is allowed by Federal Aviation Regulations so long as they have a certificated individual who is supervising and available for consultation.  The FAA never defined available but in the last few years “in person” has been added to CFR 43.3(g).  Please ensure that when non-certificated persons are working on CAF aircraft that a certificated person is supervising and available “in person” for when consultation is needed.  


Whether this “in person” definition includes being in a neighboring hangar or across town we must use discretion within our CAF units.   CFR 43.3(g) is clear that if non-certificated individuals have questions or seek consultation, the A&P mechanic must be available to give that person consultation “in person” when requested.  Click on the link AP-Supervision-Leter.pdf to see an interpretation given by the FAA on this topic.  


Great job everyone and keep the CAF Flying!


David Oliver

V.P. of Safety, Operations, & Maintenance



Editors Note:  CAF Colonel, Captain Chuck Downey sadly passed away on February 19, 2016.  He was 91 years old.  You can read more about Captain Downey’s story and his recognition as the youngest aviator of WWII at the following link.  He is deeply missed and certain left a legacy for myself and many others in our organization.  


 Click HERE to read the article about Captain Downey.  


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