The Henry B. Tippie National Aviation Education Center Grand Opening Ceremony
Commemorative Air Force Officially Opened the Henry B. Tippie National Aviation Education Center with a Grand Opening ceremony and honored one of the last living members of famed Tuskegee Airmen
November 11, 2021, (DALLAS) – The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) – the world’s largest flying museum – today announced the official opening of its major education center at Dallas Executive Airport. The Henry B. Tippie National Aviation Education Center (NAEC) is a 47,000 square foot facility that comprises a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Innovation Hangar, workshops, classrooms, and display atrium and gallery for a selection of the CAF's collection of World War II artifacts.
The facility is named in honor of World War II veteran, philanthropist and long-time CAF member, Henry Tippie. Mr. Tippie was represented by his wife, Patricia, who remarked how important education is and how proud they are to contribute to a facility that brings the past together with the present and the future. Dallas City Mayor Eric Johnson, and Dallas City Council Members Casey Thomas and Tennel Atkins also remarked how the NAEC and its programs are an exciting new asset to the community. As part of opening ceremonies, the CAF recognized retired Brig. Gen. Charles E. McGee, who, at 101 years of age, is one of the last living members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, the all African-American military pilot group who fought during World War II. In his more than 30 years of service, McGee flew 409 combat missions in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
In honor of McGee’s service, the NAEC houses the Brig. Gen. Charles McGee and Don Hinz Theater. The theater features two compelling original short films. One tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen. The other shares the story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), America’s first female military pilots. Both groups overcame obstacles to be able to serve their country during World War II. "It's sure heartwarming to be named with Don Hinz as we shared the same love of aviation," said McGee.
The theater is generously supported by the CAF Red Tail Sponsor Group, an affiliate of the CAF which is committed to educational outreach programs that use the inspirational story of the Tuskegee Airmen as a guide for strength of character and an inspiration to triumph over adversity. “We are very fortunate to be in the position to fund this theater in Dallas,” said Doug Rozendaal, leader of the Red Tail Squadron. “To pay tribute to Charles McGee, a Tuskegee Airman, and Don Hinz, our group’s founder, in this way is tremendous. We are certain that those who come through the theater will be touched by these real stories of heroes. Our hope is that people who view these films will be emboldened to reach their own goals, and possibly ignite an interest in flying.”
Visitors can visit the NAEC website www.flynaec.org to get information about the hours of operation, exhibits, buy tickets, and learn more about the programs.