For Air Force buffs or folks who just love aviation past and present, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) base’s move to Dallas and its strong preservation attitude regarding the country’s aviation history is definitely worth a visit in the new organizational headquarters.
In an effort to gain more exposure and position itself to make a larger educational impact, CAF selected Dallas as its new location due to the city’s commitment to tourism, American history and culture, according to Adam Smith, CAF's executive vice-president of strategic development.
Now, with that move, the next big step for CAF will come the weekend of Oct. 28 with the Wings Over Dallas show, commemorating the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. The show will feature an award-winning re-creation of the surprise attack called TORA! TORA! TORA! using WWII-era aircraft and pyrotechnics to create one big dynamic history lesson.
This will be the first of many such annual events, according to Kim Pardon, CAF B29/B24 Squadron Public Information Officer and Marketing and Media Liaison for the upcoming event.
Pardon said visitors will have an opportunity to see four of the most popular WWII bombers on one ramp. The B-29 Superfortress, B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator and B-25 Mitchell will all be at the show for tours and rides.
“This is extremely rare to see four in one setting,” Pardon said. “The B-29 and B-24 are each one of only two still flying in the world.”
Planning for about 10,000 visitors during the three-day event, the show is intended to give a taste of what to expect when the actual CAF interactive museum opens sometime around 2020.
“As part of a wider plan to establish a major new museum/attraction at Dallas Executive Airport (formerly known as Redbird Airport), the CAF has a vision for CAF Wings Over Dallas to become the nation’s preeminent annual World War II themed air show and military reenactment event,” Pardon said. “Flying demonstrations, flight line presentations, battle reenactments, veteran appearances and aircraft tours will provide hands-on opportunities for families and aviation history enthusiasts.”
Friday, Oct. 28, will kick off the event with an education day at the show. Pardon said hundreds of school children are expected to visit the airport that day to participate in aviation related educational activities and watch the flying events.
“CAF Wings Over Dallas will be unique — instead of focusing on a multitude of flying acts, the program is designed to educate and inspire visitors by combining interactive programs that enable the public to experience the sights and sounds of the World War II era,” Pardon explained. “The site will be transformed back to the 1940s with displays on the ground including military vehicles and Home Front exhibits.”
Many World War II veterans and people who contributed to the war effort by working in the Dallas area aircraft factories during the war have been invited to attend the show as well.
The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) is a nonprofit educational association and is the world’s largest flying museum with more than 12,000 members and a fleet of 165 airplanes distributed to CAF units across the country for their care. The organization has been collecting, restoring and flying World War II aircraft for more than 50 years and nearly all the aircraft are kept in flying condition, enabling people to experience first-hand the sight and sound and stories of vintage military aircraft in flight.
The move to Dallas was part of an overall effort to build an iconic attraction that tells the story of how the American people achieved victory in the air in World War II.
“Outside of major league sports, air shows are the most attended form of outdoor entertainment in the country, and Dallas is the largest US city that doesn’t have an annual air show,” said Pardon. “So we see a huge market opportunity.”
WHAT: Wings Over Dallas
WHERE: Dallas Executive Airport, 5303 Challenger Drive, Dallas, Texas
WHEN: October 28 -30, 2016
TICKETS: Save $5 if purchased in advance online at www.wingsoverdallas.org
Adults $15 + handling fee or $20 at the event
Student (12-17) and Active Military with ID $10 + handling fee or $15 at the event
Child (6-11) $5 + handling fee or $10 at the event