May 21, 2013
By Jim Moore
While vowing to maintain a presence in Midland/Odessa, the Commemorative Air Force is scouting for a good location to set up a national warbird attraction.
Established in 1957 by a group of veterans who pooled their resources to buy a P-51 Mustang, the Commemorative Air Force has grown to 10,000 members operating aircraft through 73 units in 28 states. The organization announced this month the commencement of a nationwide search for a location to build a year-round aviation attraction, one that will support a 10-year strategic plan to expand its core mission of education, along with honoring military aviators past and present.
“This can only be accomplished by establishing a world-class attraction at a location which has a significant population, with a strong tourism component,” said Commemorative Air Force President and CEO Stephan C. Brown in a news release. “Sites under consideration need to meet minimum runway length and width requirements, as well as a population minimum, economic incentives and tourism potential. The successful location will be a city anxious to host this educational and entertaining attraction.”
The organization plans to establish airbases in addition to the national hub, augmenting the 60 aviation facilities now being operated. The organization said it plans to maintain a presence in Texas, though the national headquarters and staff will be moved to the new national airbase once it is established.
“The CAF National Airbase will house and serve as a stage to share a rotating group of the most significant military aviation assets in history,” Brown said. “For over 55 years we have been restoring, maintaining and operating the world’s largest fleet of flying vintage military aircraft and we expect this Airbase to become a premier destination for the host city chosen.”
The Commemorative Air Force invites city officials interested in details and documents to contact Jubal Smith with Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc. at 214/438-6235, or by email.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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