The 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 But, in today’s environment, we have to find new ways to educate and break away from traditional and increasingly outdated methods.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.