Commemorative Air Force Seeking to Establish a New National Airbase

CAF_Logo_final_4cThe Commemorative Air Force (CAF) announced plans last Thursday to establish a new “CAF National Airbase” within a major metropolitan area as well as announcing that they are embarking immediately on a nationwide search immediately for the best location for this new facility. The CAF National Airbase, which is intended to become the Crown Jewel of the existing network of 60 facilities that are currently spread over 28 states, is the first step of a larger “Airbase Strategy” that will see the organization reorganize and establish several CAF Airbases at key locations around the country over the next decade, with sites selected to maximize the cultural and educational impact of the CAF’s activities.

At each Airbase, the public attraction will house flying vintage military aircraft combined with interactive educational displays, entertaining activities and each will host an annual air show. Additionally, the CAF will look to partner with other leading innovative, historical, educational and entertainment based organizations to accomplish its mission. CAF President/CEO Stephan C. Brown stated: “The Commemorative Air Force’s mission is education – such that Americans will value and support the contributions of military aviation in assuring our nation’s freedom. But, in today’s environment, we have to find new ways to educate and break away from traditional and increasingly outdated methods. 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 further stated that the CAF has been restoring, maintaining and operating vintage warbirds for over 55 years and has amassed the world’s largest fleet of flying vintage military aircraft and that he expects that this National Airbase will become a premier destination for the host city chosen.

The new flagship National Airbase facility will be a year-round aviation attraction, house CAF Staff and volunteers and host a large annual warbird air show/fly-in. By establishing a world-class aviation facility within a metropolitan area with a large population and a strong international tourism component, the CAF hopes to further it’s mission of educating both the domestic and international public on the history and importance of our country’s efforts to protect freedom through airpower.

Sites under consideration for the National Airbase will need to meet minimum runway length and width requirements, as well as a population minimums, economic incentives and tourism potential. Once the location has been chosen and the new facility has been built, the CAF’s Board of Directors has made the decision to relocate its Headquarters’ personnel and operations there. The CAF has been headquartered in Midland, Texas since 1991 and the CAF has indicated that it will continue to maintain its strong presence there, including plans to improve the CAF Airpower Museum, upgrading it to a “CAF Airbase” status and assigning it additional airplanes and continuing to sponsor the annual Midland/Odessa CAF AIRSHO.

74 Comments

  1. I think moving your HQ to Bullhead City, Arizona would be a good idea. It’s on the Colorado River with the casinos of Nevada right across the river, California close by as well. Bullhead City has a population of about 30,000 and the major metropolitan area of Las Vegas, Nevada is about 90 miles away. The airport is called Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport and would be perfect. It has has the Legends Over the Colorado visit here twice. The B-29 “Fifi” has landed here as well as the B-25 “Executive Sweet.” Please consider stationing here.

        • His collection was FAR from destroyed (by Hurricane Andrew, in ’92). He relocated to Polk City, Florida (between Orlando and Tampa) which he calls “Orlampa.” (Yeah, Kermit is a bit strange, sometimes.) 😀

          He ran his new site (Fantasy of Flight) for almost 19 years. Now, he’s rebuilding his facility AGAIN, to a new vision. It’s going to be awesome.

          If the CAF relocated to the Lakeland Linder Airport (right nearby), it would be AWESOME. Lakeland is already the home of the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In, second largest airshow in the US, after Oshkosh. It’s in the middle of “tourist country” (all the major central Florida attractions). It has excellent year-round weather. MacDill AFB, in nearby Tampa, also hosts AirFest, every year (budget permitting).

          It would be the perfect choice.

  2. Lots of airports to pick from and a great pool of A&Ps that live in the South Florida area. Kermit Weeks was down here,then moved to Polk City FL. So there is a void here you could fill.

  3. Greetings,

    Having visited one of the old CAF shows in South Texas, I remember how difficuit it was to get there…and the limited facilities and transportation in the area. I took my father in law there to be inducted into the CAF by Tennessee Ernie Ford and Lloyd Nolan. Wherever you choose, I would suggest that you remember the age of the veterans who might want to attend and the availability and proximity the location would be travel wise. One consideration might be the airport outside Nashville, in Smyrna, TN. It is close to the Nashville International Airport which is a major hub for Southwest, American and others. it is a huge tourist attraction city and is in driving distance on many major cities to the West, South, East, and North. It has all the amenities needed, and in place, to host such a museum and air show. Even “westerners might enjoy visiting Nashville.
    Not is mention a huge pool of popular entertainers to draw from…Not too hot, not too cold, not too dry, not too wet. And, last but not least….Nashville is very veteran friendly…. and adults over 50 love the place. Check it out…….

    • Smyrna, TN would be a great location… it’s a former AFB, is close to Nashville but not too close to the flight path for the Nashville Intnl. Airport (BNA).

  4. The CAF screwed up many years ago,by leaving Harlingen,Texas, the founding city.
    Seems everybody jumps on a good thing,and takes the free ride,sorta like our federal government,you see where that’s got them.

    • Jorge, Harlingen is a tiny, tiny town about as far away from everything else in the U.S. as it could possibly get. No, the big screwup was putting the new HQ out in remote Midland/Odessa, TX. Hotel rooms scarce and expensive due to oil boom and tough to even drive there. New location absolutely has to be near a major metro area like Dallas, Houston or San Antonio.

      • forget Texas OK California Aerospace industries have built many of the war birds past and present! march field is close into airports and is near orange and LA countries very well situated .San berdo is next door a new into airport being built at thgthge old Norton afb.

  5. I think you should be fair in your considerations and look at old Airbase facilities that used to be Bases and just do a fly in to locations and use fair judging of each facility you visit . there are several bases that closed that could use some life put back in them

    • To the best of my knowledge the CAF hasn’t made any announcements other than that Midland, TX would be an Airbase, but the CAF Arizona Wing has just changed their name on Facebook to “Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona (formerly the Arizona Wing)” so perhaps there’s doings that haven’t been announced, though I’d say that that might indicate that the Phoenix metro area is out of the running for the National Airbase, though it’s purely speculation on my part.

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/CAF-Airbase-Arizona/325577670879188

      Roger

      • For the Nat’l .airbase maybe ,but for the first and dominate Airbase Arizona’s CAF at Falcon field holds that distinction

  6. I am the marketing and Economic Development lead and would like to place the North Texas Regional Airport located in Denison TX, 60 miles north of the DFW metroplex in play for your new headquarters. Please provide the details on how you would like proposals submitted.

  7. The perfect place for your new Headquarters would be at Love Field in Dallas TX or Addison Field in Addison Tx. We already have FiFi as well as a variety of war-birds station here.

    • Gordon, your idea for Love Field is completely impractical. I work at Love Field and the surounding neighborhoods would freakout at the thought of antique aircraft flying over their heads. Any location needs to be on the edge of a major metro area, like McKinney or Alliance Airport. No way can you do a big airshow inside a major city

      • Hondo air base is a good place ,plently of room and not to far from San Antonio. Lots of retired military aircraft mechanics

  8. I second the idea of the old air base at Dennison, TX. It’s fairly close to the metroplex, yet enough outside of a congested area to help with operational safety of flying old warbirds. It’s got a 9000′ runway and a huge ramp space too.

  9. Why not use logic in a decision of this kind? A place that is geocentric to the country, has more flying days than anywhere in the world, has the space AND room to expand, etc., etc. I am talking about Wiley Post Airport., Oklahoma City, OK. Plenty of hangars available NOW, lots of retired aircraft workers from Tinker Air Base (nearby).

    Yep, it’s got it all!!!!!!

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    I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but
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    The reason I ask is because your layout
    seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.
    P.S My apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  11. KHUF…that would be a great base…it is a former fighter base for INANG, there are no commercial flights….plus damn near center of country…

  12. we at Arizone are privilaged to be the first CAF Airbase, Airbase Arizona at Falcon Field in Mesa AZ. is the flagship of the CAF

    • Front Range Airport is near Watkins east of Denver and literally next door to Denver International Airport. Not a good place for airshows when you have airlines in the immediate traffic area.

      Rocky Mountain Metro (formerly Jefferson County) Airport is by Broomfield, Colorado, 15 minutes northwest of downtown Denver.

      That could be a good location.

  13. Lakeland Linder Airport would be good they have a strong base of war birds and sun and fun is there what great advertising its also a great airport and can handle big aircraft and jets. Sarasota would be a good place also and you can move all flying aircraft during hurricanes both are located close to the Tampa and orlando areas and a short drive from Miami and the Jacksonville areas and have great areas to vacation

  14. What about southern Illinois. I know that the planes have flown in to the Airport in Carbondale. With the Aviation School at SIU and being in a tri-state would be a great idea

  15. Bainbridge, GA is another great location… good weather, not too cold in the winter… the old Blytheville AFB is another good one…

  16. I own and fly a 1940 Taylorcraft that was both used as a flight trainer, and picked up by the CAP in WW-II, and it will ALWAYS be the CONFEDERATE Air Force to THIS Texan. The patches on my flight jackets still say so.

  17. Actually, Bullhead City IS pretty nice. I have flown out of there, is right across the river from Laughlan, and the town of Bullhead is pretty nice too.The weather there there is nice in the winter.

  18. Moving facilities and rare aircraft in the path of hurricanes and into tornado alley- not very smart- I thought Southern Minnesota wing was the Flagship wing, being the first wing chartered? I always thought that Midland was too far away from a metro. Needs to stay in Texas, somewhere in DFW area.

  19. I retired from the Cradle Of Aviation in 2010 and lived on Long Island, N.Y. for 60 years and would love to have the Commemorative Air Force so close by but, even I, have to say that Texas, Arizona, New Mexico or southern California would be a better choice with much better weather. We have historic Floyd Bennet Field out in Brooklyn with historic hangars, runways etc. and there are museum quality restorations going on there now but, no, the weather would not be conducive to year round visitation. Somewhere in the southwest would probably make more sense.

  20. Pyote, Pyote……PYOTE, TEXAS!!! Pyote AFB

    It is geographically the center of the U.S. and still has a GREAT BIG Parking apron,…..

  21. If you missed it, Headquarters of the CAF is moving to Dallas Executive (RBD). Dallas has put together an incentive package that has not been disclosed but includes an obligation for the CAF to raise $40 million to build a hangar and museum. Dallas is rebuilding and extending the runways for additional jet traffic in the future. They should start the move in 2015 we are told.

  22. Pueblo Army air base Pueblo Colorado. Has original B-24 hanger has heavy runways. Plus central to all U.S. equal distance for all to come. Plus 360 Days of Flying weather. There is existing Air museum to draw crowds.

  23. Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to create
    a good article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole
    lot and don’t seem to get anything done.

  24. I would like to put in a plug for Topeka Kansas’s former Forbes Army Air Force base. Topeka has good road access as I-70 and I-35 go through Topeka Snagging travelers from the east and west coast traveling cross country.also travelers going north and south onI-35 go right through Topeka. Topeka has a population of 120,000 ,and we are less than 60 miles from kansas City. Forbes field has a 12000 foot by150 ft. runway and still has many vintage WWll airrcraft hangars on site.We also have a combat air museum on site which would complement your organization. Regards,Mike

  25. Pick a site that is located in the middle of the US. Blytheville AFB in Arkansas was a good spot. Maybe a spot near St. Louis, Mo. The Oklahoma area another good area or a spot in Kansas. A field that would allow all GA aircraft to migrate to and plot out spokes like a wheel from the national museum to maybe navigate close to other airports of interest along each spoke.

  26. We here in Fort Worth are lucky because while they are building the hangers in Dallas they are using the B-29 hanger at the Vintage Fying Museum, Meacham Fied. Both Fifi and Diamond Lil are living there at this time. Had the pleasure of taking my 4 y.o. Grandson to see them; he may be the only 4 year old in America who can identify a B-29 in this day and age. “we” built a 1/100 B-29 and he brought that with him; the maintainer crew were highly impressed.

  27. How about KILG in New Castle, DE. Runways can handle C-5 and C-17s so they are long enough. Wilmington, DE and Philly are a stone’s throw away, so population is no problem. Besides, this would be a good are in the Northeast as weather is not really a problem like the South with it’s hurricanes and tornadoes.

  28. Lakeland Fl. Drane Field. Runway long enough for 747,home of Sun N Fun, close to Fantasy of Flight, Space Coast, corridor Daytona-Orlando-Tampa. World wide routes through area for other attractions. Sunshine. Come on soon.

  29. Mather Field near Sacramento has 12000 11000 feet of runway large old Sac hangers and lots of ramp space. Excellent transportation options and lots of military facilities and retired military around.

  30. Colorado Springs is perfect. The field is an old air force base and has separate run ways for commercial and GA aircraft. It also has the best warbird restorer in the country, Bill Klaers, located there. The annual visitor count to the area is well over 1 million.

  31. Attend 2016 Wings Over Dallas Oct 28-30, 2016 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and get a sneak preview of the National Air Base programs.

  32. How about the Noth East? Westover ANG Base (Chicopee Massachusetts) has the runway your looking for. I bet it would be very successful.

  33. How about San Antonio, TX. What used to be Kelly AFB has lots of room and the runways should not be a problem since B-52’s used to land there and C-5’s still do. San Antonio has a central location, the weather is nearly always good, two major interstate highways run through the city and the there are two aviation maintenance schools located here. If you are looking for something smaller than ex-Kelly AFB, then there is Stinson Field.

  34. Why not in the center of the US (St Lewis) then no one can complain about travelling all the way across the US to an airshow. Lots of P-51’s didn’t show from California at the Roundup in Ohio as it was “too far” I thought Midland was great, quiet, good restaurants & motels. Do some serious thinking on this guys, I’d like it down the road too but everyone doesn’t like to travel too far these days,

  35. An obvious location in my opinion would be Dayton, Ohio, the birthplace of aviation itself! Hundreds of thousands of aviation enthusiasts visit the Dayton area to partake in the Dayton Airshow and to tour the absolutely FREE and remarkably unique Dayton Air Force Museum. The expertise of the museum’s restoration staff and unprecedented database of aircraft information would serve vital to the CAF’s future endeavors. Within 1 1/2 drive is Indianapolis, Columbus and Cincinnati.

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