Bombers Go Down to Georgia

Photo via Commemorative Air Force
Aircorps Art Dec 2019


PRESS RELEASE – In cities across the U.S., vintage military aircraft rest quietly in museums, where school children and tourists admire them, take their pictures, and leave them behind closed doors at the end of each day. This May, aviation history blasts out of the museums and into the skies as the Commemorative Air Force thunders into Georgia, led by the B-17 Flying Fortress Texas Raiders. Local airports will host American aviation history as the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) presents an array of events featuring restored World War II aircraft for public viewing and rides at cities along the Georgia WWII Heritage Trail. CAF Airbase Georgia, based in Peachtree City, Ga., is part of the Georgia WWII Heritage Trail.

The CAF Gulf Coast Wing’s Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress known as Texas Raiders .(photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

The CAF will present a series of events focused on American aviation history in Georgia in May, culminating with the celebration of the Flags for the Fallen on Memorial Day weekend in Savannah, Ga. Americans of all ages will delight in the opportunity to put their hands on history by getting up close and even flying in the historic aircraft, all of which are notable for their level of restoration and historic significance.

A variety of warbirds will visit Columbus on May 4-9, Macon on May 20-22, Savannah on May 26-30, and Douglas on May 31-June 2. All four cities are home to museums on the Georgia WWII Heritage Trail, including Columbus’ National Infantry Museum, the Museum of Aviation at Warner-Robins Airbase near Macon, the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth near Savannah, and World War II Flight Training Museum in Douglas.

Southern states were critical to the war effort during World War II (1941-1945), and none more so than Georgia. Over 300,000 Georgians served in the military, and thousands of civilians worked in rapidly expanding wartime industries.

The initial event in Columbus, Ga., will feature the B-29 Superfortress FIFI, and B-24 Liberator Diamond Lil, one of the first B-24s produced, and one of only two in the world still flying. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress FIFI is one of only two flying in the world today, and was the largest and most technically advanced aircraft of its time. FIFI and Diamond Lil also will appear in Brunswick on May18-22 and Augusta on May 25-28.

Featured aircraft at the other locations include the iconic B-17 Flying Fortress Texas Raiders, one of only five remaining that are actively flying today: Texas Raiders, Sentimental Journey, Yankee Lady, Sally B, and Ye Olde Pub. Thunderbird and Aluminum Overcast are both down for wing spar issues. No estimate on when they will return. Texas Raiders was the first Flying Fortress to be restored solely for the sake of education and as a flying museum and is accurately restored to World War II configuration, bristling with machine guns, and featuring period-specific equipment. Accompanying the big bomber will be the world’s only flying example of the notorious dive bomber, an SB2C Helldiver, as well as the popular SNJ / T-6 Texan an advanced trainer in which thousands of airmen learned to fly for combat.

Photo via CAF Gulf Coast Wing

“Local CAF Airbase Georgia plans to add to the excitement of the event in Macon by sending our popular P-51 Mustang Red Nose,” said Airbase Leader Joel Perkins. “Rides will be available on Texas Raiders and other historic aircraft, providing once-in-a-lifetime flying experiences on restored CAF aircraft.”

For information on admission and to make ride reservations on Texas Raiders go to www.B17TexasRaiders.org.  For info on FIFI and Diamond Lil go to www.airpowersquadron.org/.

About the CAF Airbase Georgia Warbird Museum
CAF Airbase Georgia, based in Peachtree City, Ga., was founded in 1987. The Airbase is one of the largest unit locations of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). The group maintains and flies seven vintage military aircraft including a P-51 Mustang, an FG-1D Corsair, an SBD Dauntless, and a P-63A Kingcobra. The Airbase, which is composed of more than 400 volunteers, is a founding partner of the Georgia WWII Heritage Trail that launched in 2021. The Airbase is part of the CAF, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that relies on contributions of time and funds to carry out its mission. For more information, go to https://airbasegeorgia.org/.

About the CAF

The Commemorative Air Force is the world’s largest flying museum, with a fleet of more than 180 World War II-era airplanes assigned to unit locations nationwide that are supported by a force of over 12,000 volunteer members. Nearly all of the aircraft are kept in flying condition, enabling people to experience firsthand the sights and sounds of vintage military aircraft in flight. The mission of the CAF is to Educate, Inspire, and Honor through flight and living history experiences.

Photo via CAF B29/B24 Squadron


3 Comments

  1. There’s more than three actively flying B-17s today, because, you have Thunderbird, Ye Olde Pub, Sally-B, “The Movie” Memphis Belle, Aluminium Overcast, Chuckie, Yankie Lady,Fuddy Duddy, and Miss Angela.

  2. Actually there are five B-17’s still flying: Texas Raiders, Sentimental Journey, Yankee Lady, Sally B, and Ye Olde Pub.

    Thunderbird and Aluminum Overcast are both down for Wing Spar issues. No estimate on when they will return.

    Chuckle was renamed Madras Maiden which was then renamed Ye Olde Pub. See above.

    Movie Memphis Belle recently flew to Palm Springs on an FAA “Ferry Permit”, but is not currently flyable. Hope to see her flying this year. Nothing announced.

    Fuddy Duddy and Miss Angela have not flown in many years. Neither is airworthy any longer.

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