The Commemorative Air Force is one of the oldest organizations devoted to the operation of restored ex-military aircraft, especially those of World War II and Korean War vintage. Started in 1957 as an informal club of Texans collecting and operating surplus World War II fighters, it was known as the Confederate Air Force until corporate sponsors of its airshows urged a name change.
Because of its early start and high degree of activity, the CAF for many years operated the only airworthy example of many significant wartime aircraft, including the Consolidated B-24, Douglas A-20, Martin B-26, North American F-82, Douglas SBD and Bell P-39. It still operates the only active Boeing B-29 and Curtiss SB2C.
The CAF supports airshows around the country and tours its B-29 and B-24 around the United States annually.
For many years the CAF based the bulk of its fleet of over 100 World War II fighter, bomber, transport and trainer aircraft at its home base in Harlingen, Texas. In 1991, the organization moved to Midland, Texas, but by then it had adopted a model in which most of its significant aircraft were spread across the United States and cared for by local chapters called “wings”. Under this model, the CAF’s aircraft are viewed by more people around the country, but its annual airshow at Midland in October is no longer as impressive as in the past because of the difficulty of gathering the collection from distant locations.
The CAF is affiliated with the American Airpower Heritage Museum which displays its static aircraft and artifacts.
To visit the CAF’s website, click here.