Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tuskegee Airmen To Appear At KC Aviation Expo Air Show

P-51C Mustang and Traveling Exhibit Honoring 
The Tuskegee Airmen
To Appear At KC Aviation Expo Air Show

South St. Paul, Minn. (August 15, 2011) – The KC Aviation Expo Air Show on August 20-21, 2011 will feature many amazing American aircraft ranging from the modern era back to WWII war birds. As fun and exciting as it will be to see them in action, one American airplane - a rare P-51C Mustang - will stand out from the others for two reasons: it has a bright red tail and it is a key part of an educational initiative to help people - particularly young people - understand and appreciate the history and legacy of the special group of black pilots who flew airplanes with bright red tails during World War II - the Tuskegee Airmen.

It will be joined by the new CAF Red Tail Squadron RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit, a customized 53' trailer with expandable sides that houses a 160-degree curved movie screen and seating for 30 in climate-controlled comfort.  A 14-minute original movie called "RISE ABOVE" focuses on what the Tuskegee Airmen - pilots and their support personnel - had to overcome to be allowed to fly and fight for their country during World War II.  It also features some great flying footage - in the Mustang - that is enhanced by the long curved screen.  Sponsored by the Texas Flying Legends Museum, admission is free.

The CAF Red Tail Squadron, a volunteer-driven non-profit organization that is part of the Commemorative Air Force, completed a $1 million restoration of the Mustang - named Tuskegee Airmen - in 2009 and the airplane has been on the air show circuit ever since. [The Mustang had been restored once before and toured the air show circuit for three years starting in July 2001 before it crashed due to catastrophic engine failure at a Minnesota air show in 2004.] At each stop, its pilots and crew take every opportunity to tell audiences the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black fighter pilots to serve in the U.S. Army Air Corps (now U.S. Air Force) and the thousands of other black men and women who supported them.

Air show attendees are spellbound as they hear how, after training at the segregated base in Tuskegee, Alabama, the Tuskegee Airmen pilots were sent first to Africa and then to Italy where they distinguished themselves as American military aviators, proving that black men had the courage and intelligence to fly and fight effectively against the Axis powers, particularly the Germans. The Airmen and their crews painted the tails of their fighters red and, as these pilots proved their skill and courage in the skies over Italy and Germany, bomber pilots soon began requesting the "red tail angels."  The Tuskegee Airmen flew thousands of sorties and earned hundreds of medals and designations, including the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 in honor of their war service to the United States.

The CAF Red Tail Squadron's RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and the red-tailed P-51C Mustang, Tuskegee Airmen, will be on display during the core hours (9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.) of the Kansas City Air Expo Air Show on August 20-21, 2011 at Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City, Kansas. 

About the CAF:

Collecting, restoring and flying vintage historical aircraft for more than half a century, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) ranks as one of the largest private air forces in the world. The CAF is dedicated to Honoring American Military Aviation through flight, exhibition and remembrance. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has more than 8,000 members and a fleet of 156 airplanes distributed throughout the country to 74 units located in 27 states for care and operation.

For more information, visit or call (432) 563-1000. For more information about the CAF Red Tail Squadron, visit

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