The Aero Club of Metro Atlanta is a Chapter of the National Aeronautics Association (NAA) based in Washington D.C. Founded in 1984 by Lockheed Aircraft Company Executives and local aviation businessmen with the goal of attracting aviation businesses to Atlanta, the club is now recognized by the NAA as one of the largest and most active “Aero Clubs” in the United States with nearly 250 individual and business members from the Atlanta area..
Based at Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field, the CAF Dixie Wing was founded in 1987 by a group of Atlanta-based airline mechanics and pilots. In the last twenty-six years, the group has restored or acquired six aircraft and a seventh is currently under restoration. The aircraft include famous WWII fighters, such as a North American P-51 Mustang and Goodyear FG-1 Corsair, and a rare Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber.
“We believe we are one of Georgia’s most unique aviation organizations and education resources” Said Jim Buckley, the CAF Dixie Wing’s leader, “and we look forward to sharing our vision for preserving aviation history with the Aero Club of Atlanta.”
The 57th Fighter Group Restaurant’s World War II aviation theme is an ideal venue for the first ever meeting between the two groups.
The roots of the CAF Dixie Wing can be found in Texas in 1957, when several ex-WWII service pilots pooled their money to purchase a P-51 Mustang, beginning what is now called the Commemorative Air Force. Over time, the CAF became a founder of the Warbird Movement, an effort to preserve America’s military aviation history with the rallying cry to “Keep ‘Em Flying!”. Now, more than 55 years later, the CAF operates the world’s largest WWII flying museum with over 150 operational aircraft and 10,000 members around the world.
The NAA is America’s oldest national aviation organization and is “dedicated to the advancement of the art, sport and science of aviation in the United States”. The scope of NAA scope encompasses all areas of flight – from skydiving and models to commercial airlines and military fighters.
Both the NAA and CAF are non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations.
In summarizing the CAF Dixie Wing’s mission, Buckley shared “Our goal is to preserve flying examples of aircraft that changed the course of history. More importantly, we want to pass on to future generations the legacy of the men and women who built, maintained and flew these planes.”