CAF Chooses DALLAS!

Several of the CAF aircraft at the National Air Base unveiling ceremony on Dallas Executive Airport (photo by Scott Slocum via CAF)
Several of the CAF aircraft at the National Air Base unveiling ceremony on Dallas Executive Airport (photo by Scott Slocum via CAF)
Several of the CAF aircraft at the National Air Base unveiling ceremony on Dallas Executive Airport (photo by Scott Slocum via CAF)

Update: 4/30/2014: Now with additional photographs

The Commemorative Air Force announced just moments ago, after a year-long study, that they have selected the city of Dallas, Texas for their National Air Base. Their new headquarters will move from their current home in Midland, Texas to a new facility, yet to be constructed, at Dallas Executive Airport (KRBD) in the suburbs just south of the city center. The transition will obviously take a little while, but it is the first step in a major re-organization which will see additional Air Bases set up around the country, and potentially overseas.

The CAF National Air Base unveiling ceremony outside the main terminal at Dallas Executive Airport on April 29th. (photo by Scott Slocum via CAF)
The CAF National Air Base unveiling ceremony outside the main terminal at Dallas Executive Airport on April 29th. (photo by Scott Slocum via CAF)

Dallas meets all of the criteria the CAF set for choosing the National Air Base location, that the airfield had to be located in a major metropolitan area with effective highway access, and had to have the right sized airfield, with economic incentives as well as a strong tourism draw. Perhaps most importantly, Dallas is a major hub for domestic and international air carriers, making travel to and from the location easier, and more economical for potential visitors… something which was never true for Midland, or Harlingen before it. Once the new facilities are ready, CAF staff will move on site, and the historic artifacts and aircraft will arrive. As we mentioned just a few weeks ago, the B24A “Diamond Lil” and B-29 “Fifi” will become permanently based at the new National Air Base after several years in Addison, Texas with the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, and more recently with the Vintage Flying Museum in Fort Worth.

The architectural model for the CAF's new National Air Base buildings. (image via CAF)
The architectural model for the CAF’s new National Air Base buildings. (image via CAF)

Rest assured Warbirds News will be bringing you further details as they become available.

Update: 4/29/14 12:29pm EST

Here are some further details taken directly from this morning’s CAF Press Release – Photos will be forthcoming.

The CAF will move a few initial staff in 2014, with the full operations of its Headquarters arriving in Dallas by the end of 2015.  “We also have the goal of constructing a world-class aviation visitor attraction, unlike any other in the United States,” said Brown.  “It will educate and entertain young and old alike using the very best of modern display techniques, including interactive displays, 4D movie experiences and hyper-realistic flight simulators.   We will also be using the most interactive assets we have – the largest fleet of flying vintage military aircraft in the world.  And to that end, we are announcing our plans to raise the funds necessary to build this facility, initially estimated at $40 million.”

“This will be a major tourism and educational asset for the City of Dallas” said Adam Smith, CAF Executive Vice President and National Airbase Project Leader. “We have a unique opportunity at this location to inspire hundreds of thousands of children and adults with some incredible airplanes and also to share the important stories the aircraft carry, of human endeavor and sacrifice in the name of freedom.”

“I can see yellow school busses dropping our children off to learn history through the sights, sounds and smells of real aircraft, not just a computer screen,” Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins echoed. “Seeing these aircraft fly makes history real.  I am especially excited about the CAF’s ‘Rise Above’ initiative which uses a Red Tail P-51 Mustang and the lessons of the Tuskegee Airmen to show our youth that if these brave men could ‘rise above’ their circumstances of discrimination to fight for their country, then they too can rise above their own circumstances to succeed.”

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings led the pursuit of the CAF and his team worked closely with the CAF and its consultant Jones Lange LaSalle over the past year to agree to terms and find the right location on the airport.

“I told the CAF folks from the start that Dallas was the only clear choice for their National Airbase. I am excited they agreed and look forward to their role in helping our city grow south,” Mayor Rawlings said. “The CAF will be a welcome addition to the museum and educational community here in Dallas, and it will provide cultural and recreational activities for residents and visitors alike.”

Along with the planned year-round public attraction, the CAF plans to hold up to three major events per year; including an annual World War II airshow.  CAF’s 164 aircraft nationwide perform in over three hundred air shows per year, nine of which the organization produces itself.

“Our goal is to make the Dallas airshow the preeminent ‘Warbird’ airshow in the nation,” said Brown. “We plan to bring in aircraft and re-enactors from all over the country so the community can enjoy a family event unlike any other.”

CAF’s National Airbase will become the permanent home to the world’s only flying B-29 Superfortess FIFI and the B-24 Liberator Diamond Lil one of only two left flying. Other exciting fighters, cargo and transport aircraft will also make Dallas Executive their home.  On display at the press conference were the B-29, B-24, P-51C Tuskegee Airmen, B-17 Texas Raiders, A-26 Invader, C-45 Bucket of Bolts, R4D Ready for Duty, P-40 as well as several other World War II warbirds.

The CAF reached initial terms with the City’s Economic Development and Aviation Departments in early April and the City Council’s consideration of a proposed lease and associated financial arrangements will take place in the near future.

Click HERE to see some of WarbirdsNews reports on the CAF from the past year.

See the slide show for additional photographs…

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8 Comments

  1. This is a big mistake on the move, Midland is loosing the museum we were told that we were not loosing. Along with that we are also not loosing the nose art museum we were told that was supposed to stay in Midland. The move has been a big lie sense the start.

  2. Big Mistake! Pretentious Dallas. I guess the museum goes where the money is. I will still go visit hoping I dont run into a fat bald XV,.

  3. I have probably seen over twenty CAF shows since the 1960’s…….and none of them were in Harlingen or Midland. If it took going to either place to see them, I would probably still be waiting to see my first show.
    There are CAF wings in Ft. Worth, Denton and Waco, all within a one hour drive from Executive Airport and another wing right across town in Lancaster, so there is also a large concentration of aircraft, pilots and support personnel in the DFW area. Just as important is the much larger population of aviation enthusiasts in the same area! It takes mucho denero to keep those fine pieces of history operating and it becomes harder to generate from a remote area of the state. So yes, it will be a sound move for the CAF on a number of different levels.

  4. I didn’t see Waco or Austin on the list, but goes where the deepest pockets are and that is the only way to keep them flying. Hopefully what is left will never die. Can always see and many museum, but you can’t hear them or smell them, Same with jets they make a lot of noise put your hand on them a fell a big powerful hum and they can haul some ass. put your hand on any old pistons and that is the beat of hart and it wants to fly so bad it is almost jumping off of the gear. Got the big patch on me CAF jacket and it ain’t coming off.

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