The Texas-based Commemorative Air Force (CAF) has recently decided to update its planning strategy in order to increase its profile and the relevance of its message to the general public, reports Richard Mallory Allnutt. The organisation will establish several «Airbases» around the USA which will be, for the most part, existing, well-established facilities within the CAF structure, featuring some of the more prominent aircraft within the fleet. However, each of these operations will transition into a more formal aviation museum, open to the general public on a daily basis with interactive displays, educational activities and events, which will include an annual air show.
The CAF has announced that Midland/Odessa in Texas, the current CAF Headquarters, is the first of these Airbase locations. The organisation has also determined the need to establish a National Airbase more centrally located to a major population area. This will become the CAF’s new national headquarters. Several dozen cities from around the USA have submitted bids in an attempt to land the National Airbase, and over the past few months the CAF has narrowed down these proposals to just eight. The eight cities on this list are: Alliance Airport, Fort Worth, Texas; Collin County Airport, McKinney, Texas; Dallas Executive Airport, Dallas, Texas; Ellington Field Airport, Houston, Texas; Lackland/Kelly Airport, San Antonio, Texas; New Century Airport, Kansas City/Olathe, Kansas; North Texas Regional Airport, Sherman/Dennison, Texas, and Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport, Smyrna, Tennessee.
The CAF will hold a vote among the general membership at its annual convention in October, to obtain approval for moving the headquarters. With a positive vote, the CAF leadership will then make the final decision of where, and when, to create its National Airbase.
Meanwhile, the CAF has received formal permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to provide flight instruction as well as flight experiences to the general public in its single engine aircraft.