The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed a new policy on July 22, 2014, to address the non-aeronautical use of airport hangars. A summary of the proposed Non-aeronautical Use of Airport Hangars rule stated on the regulations.gov website reads, “Under Federal law, airport operators that have accepted federal grants and/or those that have obligations contained in property deeds for property transferred under various Federal laws such as the Surplus Property Act generally may use airport property only for aviation-related purposes unless otherwise approved by the FAA. Compliance inspections by FAA staff, as well as audits by the Government Accountability Office, have found that some hangars intended for aircraft storage are routinely used to store non-aeronautical items such as vehicles and large household items. In some cases, this storage interferes with—or entirely displaces—aeronautical use of the hangar. Moreover, many airports have a waiting list for hangar space, and a tenant's use of a hangar for non-aeronautical purposes prevents aircraft owners from obtaining access to hangar storage on the airport. At the same time, the FAA realizes that storage of some small incidental items in a hangar that is otherwise used for aircraft storage will have no effect on the aeronautical utility of the hangar. The FAA is proposing a statement of policy on use of airport hangars to clarify compliance requirements for airport sponsors, airport manager, airport tenants, state aviation officials, and FAA compliance staff. This notice solicits public comment on the proposed policy statement.”
According to Stephan Brown, president and CEO of the Commemorative Air Force, “the CAF and many other non-profit aviation museums around the country exhibit static and flying aircraft in hangars for the purpose of education. However, many non-aeronautical items are also displayed in order to tell these stories. Additionally, food service, merchandise and other revenue-producing operations occur that are supplementary to education and crucial to the business operations of aviation museums. In addition, the CAF’s 60 unit locations, along with hundreds of other aviation museums, experimental, limited and standard category aircraft undergo multi-year restoration efforts - this new rule would threaten those efforts. The CAF is requesting an extension of the comment period on the proposed rule for non-aeronautical uses of aircraft hangars in order for more comments to be registered and for the FAA to delve deeper into the unintended consequences of this proposed rule.”
The Commemorative Air Force will continue to coordinate with the responsible government agencies as well as track this situation because of the potential direct impact to the organization’s operations. To bolster the organization’s efforts, the CAF has made requests to its membership and supporters to voice their concerns about the potential impact of this proposed rule via public comment. Those wanting to voice their opinions must do so before September 5, when the public comment period ends.
The CAF’s official statement requests the policy clearly establish aviation museums/static aircraft displays, aircraft building/restoration, non aviation historical/educational supporting artifacts, signs and other museum support functions such as food and beverage operations, as an approved aeronautical purpose. The statement goes on to say “all of our hangars are used for storing, restoring and performing maintenance on our flying aircraft, as well as museum educational operations. Within some of the larger hangars, they maintain artifacts associated with the history of the airplanes, the wars and battles associated with the era and use them to tell the story about the role of the aircraft and the men and women who flew them to preserve our peace and that of our allies. In some cases we maintain multiple hangars and buildings as a campus, some of which are for the interpretive displays and viewing of artifacts by the public. In all cases, the focus is on our educational mission, as a flying museum and we display the static elements as supporting and necessary elements of the total story and history.”
Aviation enthusiasts and members of various aviation organizations have posted over 700 comments. Several comments expressed concern regarding restrictions affecting the early stages of the homebuilt aircraft projects. “With the comments mounting and actions being taken directly with government agencies, the best outcome would be an industry meeting with the FAA to be sure they understand the concerns and possible impact on aviation non-profit organizations and museums,” concluded Brown.
Comments may be placed by visiting the following link: regulations.gov
This year the U.S. Navy Blue Angels will take to the skies at the 30th Annual CAF Wings Over Houston Airshow this Nov. 1-2. The Blue Angels will perform their aerobatic demonstration during the show alternating between maneuvers performed in diamond Formation and those performed by the Solos.
In addition to the Blue Angels, the Wings Over Houston Airshow will also feature a tribute to Vietnam War veterans with flight demonstration of aircraft from that era, as well as display of the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall. The traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall which is a 3/5 scale model of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.,. The Traveling Vietnam Memorial honors those who gave their lives during the Vietnam War.
“We’re thrilled that the U.S. Navy Blue Angels are returning to help us celebrate 30 years of an airshow that brings fans from all over the United States and the world to Houston,” said CAF Col Bill Roach, airshow director. “We’re putting together the final touches on a thrilling and fully-packed show lineup, but right now we want our fans to know they can purchase tickets early at lower prices that only go up as we get closer to the show date.”
Civillian Acts this year include Sean Tucker, David Martin of Breitling AirShows, Matt Champan, Debbi Rihn-Harvey and others.
Other performers include Texas Flying Legends Museum, CAF’s TORA! TORA! TORA!, World War II Airpower Demo Tour and many more.
Tickets can be purchased in advance by visiting www.wingsoverhouston.com or by calling 888-4-FLYSHOW. Purchase early for best pricing as ticket prices go up as event nears and to secure reserved seating.
The Wings Over Houston Airshow is a 501(c)(3) community event presented by the volunteer efforts of the Houston Wing, Gulf Coast Wing and Tora! Tora! Tora! of the Commemorative Air Force, with support from the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston, the Texas Flying Legends Museum, Collings Foundation-Houston and the Vietnam War Flight Museum.
For more information, click here.
The CAF is bringing “hands on” history to Dallas this October 3 through 5 when the world’s only flying B-29 Superfortress, FIFI, the famous P-51C Tuskegee Airmen and over a dozen other World War II military aircraft take center stage at their first event at Dallas Executive Airport.
The event will be open to the public Friday, October 3 through Sunday, October 5 bringing the sights, smells and sounds of World War II aviation history to south Dallas. Attractions will include the CAF’s RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit – a 160 degree panoramic theater in which visitors watch a video highlighting the courage and determination of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Participants will also tour the bomber cockpits, watch the airplanes fly and can even purchase rides in many of the visiting aircraft. These aircraft are powerful history lessons for young and old alike. The visual display combined with the enthusiasm and knowledge of CAF members will create an unforgettable experience for visitors.
Attending aircraft will include the B-29 Superfortress, P-51C Mustang, P5-1D Mustang, SB2C Helldiver, B-24 Liberator, A-26 Invader and many other transport, liaison and trainer airplanes. The event address is 5303 Challenger Drive in Dallas. Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children age 6 through 17. Children age 5 and under are free. The cost for aircraft rides ranges from $65 to $1,995 depending on the airplane. Reservations may be made online at http://www.AirPowerExpo.org.
The Air Expo kicks off Thursday, October 2, with a full day of educational programs for local students. Activities that day include the CAF RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit which teaches students the story of men who overcame many obstacles to train and fight as U.S. Army Air Corps pilots during World War II and emphasizes what their spirit and hard work still mean to us 60 years later. Former Tuskegee Airmen and other World War II Veterans will be on hand to talk with the students about all of the airplanes and their experiences during the war.
In June of this year the Commemorative Air Force announced Dallas Executive Airport will be the new location for their national headquarters. They plan to build a world-class aviation attraction at the airport. The World War II Air Expo, hosted by the CAF B-29/B-24 Squadron, offers Dallas residents their first opportunity to learn more about the organization.
It has been 70 years since the U.S. Army Air Corp lifted into the air to create the largest air armada ever to fill the skies during World War II, but on Aug. 22-24, an array of WWII warbirds will be roaring over Corpus Christi, Texas.
Leading the squadron into Corpus Christi International Airport will be the famed B-17 Flying Fortress Texas Raiders. Joining her will be the B-25 Mitchell Yellow Rose and the C-47 Skytrain Bluebonnet Belle, from San Marcos and Burnet, Texas, respectively. Following them will be the unique SB2C Helldiver dive-bomber plus a Corpus Christi-based Stearman trainer. All five aircraft are notable for their historic importance and level of restoration.
Over 12 thousand B-17s were built to further the war effort. Today, only nine remain flyable— one being Texas Raiders, which bristles with machine guns and period-specific equipment. The B-25 Mitchell Yellow Rose is also rare—one of only 27 of the remaining famous bombers. The C-47 Skytrain Bluebonnet Belle is one of the very popular and widely used aircraft in military history, and acclaimed by General Eisenhower as one of the four weapons that won WWII.
Joining them will be the SB2C Helldiver dive-bomber, the only one flying in existence today, as well as the locally based N2S Stearman bi-plane, flown by CAF Third Coast Squadron based in Corpus Christi.
Meeting the CAF aircraft in Corpus Christi will be a highly decorated WWII aviator, Lt. Col. George Reed (USAF Ret) of Alice, Texas. Early in the war Lt. Col. Reed learned to fly multi-engine aircraft in Marfa, Texas and flew in combat over Europe with the 15th Air Force based in Italy. Flying a heavy bomber for 35 missions, Lt. Col. Reed earned the Distinguished Flying Cross among other decorations, and ultimately retired from the Air Force with over 26 years of service.
All five aircraft will be available for tours to the public beginning at 2:00 PM August 22 and continuing throughout the weekend. The public can visit the aircraft and for nominal admission can take walk-through tours that include commentary from crewmembers. WWII Veterans and Active Duty service men and women may tour for free with their Military ID. Attendees who want the ultimate Living History Flight Experience can make a reservation now for one of the limited number of 30-minute flights on the popular aircraft.
Two video productions featuring the iconic Boeing B-29 Superfortress, FIFI, and other aircraft maintained and operated by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), recently won big video awards for 2013. “If These Planes Could Talk” was the recipient of the Silver Telly Award. WXIA TV in Atlanta was presented an Emmy for a news feature about a WWII veteran and the B-29.
Scott Edge with Skygate Studios was commissioned by the Commemorative Air Force B-29/B-24 Squadron to document their first annual CAF Dallas AirPower History Expo in October of 2013. The Telly award-winning video tells the story of the CAF and its mission to keep their over 150 vintage military airplanes flying in order to tell the story of the brave men and women who designed, built and flew them during World War II. With nearly 12,000 video entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, this is truly an honor. The Telly Awards, founded in 1978, honors the very best in film and video productions.
WXIA –TV in Atlanta, Georgia received a regional Emmy in the Television News Gathering Excellence, general assignment category for the news story “Unusual Sendoff for WWII Veteran.” The story, reported by multimedia journalist Steve Flood and WXIA reporter Jaye Watson, was the account of a funeral flyover performed in May of 2013 for former B-29 navigator Robert Kruer.
Robert Kruer’s family visited the B-29 at its CAF AirPower History Tour stop in Atlanta last May just two days before Kruer’s funeral service. The B-29 crew was able to coordinate a flyover honoring the World War II Veteran. The news video includes footage from inside the aircraft during the flyover as well as the reaction of those on the ground.
A link to the “If These Planes Could Talk” video: http://youtu.be/7Eyy90dS7No
A link to the “Unusual Sendoff for WWII Veteran” video: http://www.11alive.com/story/news/local/2014/03/05/1936638/