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Commemorative Air Force

From PlaneSpottingWorld, for aviation fans everywhere

The Commemorative Air Force (CAF), formerly known as the Confederate Air Force, is a Texas-based non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and showing historical aircraft at airshows throughout the U.S. and Canada primarily.

The original name, Confederate Air Force, started as a simple joke. As the collection of "warbirds" at Rebel Field started to grow, someone painted the name on the side of one of the planes. The name stuck. In 2002 it changed its name to Commemorative Air Force because several corporate sponsors found the word "Confederate" questionable and threatened to pull their sponsorship monies.

The origins of the CAF date back to 1951, when Lloyd Nolen, an ex-USAAF Instructor Pilot, purchased a war surplus P-40 Warhawk. The group that would become the Confederate Air Force first got together in 1957, when four friends along with Nolen joined forces to purchase a P-51 Mustang.

The CAF then started its serious search for WW-II aircraft to preserve. As the aircraft became more rare, not even the US Navy, nor the USAF, was making any attempt at preserving the aircraft that helped win the war (with the exception of notable aircraft like B-29s Bockscar and the Enola Gay). In 1961, it officially filed for non-profit status, and in 1968 it moved to Old Rebel Field (now Old Reb Airport 5XS6) in Mercedes, Texas, near Harlingen in southmost Texas.

The CAF moved its headquarters to Midland, Texas at Midland International Airport (KMAF) in West Texas in 1991. Midland does have the advantage of being conveniently located by the major highway Interstate-20 and away from Harlingen's corrosive salt air from the Gulf of Mexico. The CAF operates 145 aircraft based with over 70 regional groups, called wings, in 27 states. Its aircraft range from the small Stinson L-5 and Ryan PT-22, to the giant Boeing B-29 (the only flying example remaining, named "FiFi"), and the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. It also operates Axis and exotic aircraft such as Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero, and Mig 17 Fresco C.

See also

Other large collections of flying historic aircraft include:

External links

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