Join us for the annual CAF Wing Staff Conference March 2-5, 2017, at the Magnolia Park Cities Hotel in Dallas.

All Unit Leaders are required to attend, other Unit Officers and members are invited to attend as well!

ONLINE REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED. You may register on-site.

Hotel Information

A dedicated website is now available for you to book your hotel rooms online. A special CAF Conference rate is available. Reservations can be made until 6 p.m. (CST) on Feb. 17, 2017 (Deadline extended!), at which time, the rooms will be released for general resale and subject to availability.  


Registration Information

To attend this conference you must be a CAF Member (Colonel, Preservation Colonel, Life Member or Cadet). Registration is currently open at $225 per person.

Registration includes all meals, sessions and a ticket to the CAF Hall of Fame Banquet.

For additional questions, call (877) 767-7175, ext. 123 or email Lawanda Strhan at

If you are unable to attend the conference sessions, but would like to attend the CAF Hall of Fame Banquet or have a guest who will be attending the meals only. Tickets for those individuals and events are available on the registration form as well. To attend any one of the day trips, please add that to your registration form, some day trips have an additional cost.

 Schedule Information

Events Subject to change.

This year's Wing Staff Conference features three educational "tracks" to help focus the presentations. You need not follow a specific track. Feel free to mix and match! Tracks include: Operational (things you need to know to functions as a unit); Sustainable (how to increase members and revenue); Impactful (how can your unit make a difference in your community). Click the link below to download the Wing Staff Program.


Download the Wing Staff Program




8 a.m. – Noon Committee Meetings, Magnolia, III

Committee Meetings (open to any members)

8 a.m. - 10 a.m. Flying Museum Board Meeting

10 a.m. - 11 a.m. Membership Committee meeting

11 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. American Airpower Heritage Foundation Board Meeting

1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Behind the Scenes at Southwest Airlines THIS TOUR IS FULL

6:00 p.m. Opening Reception, Magnolia II

Join your fellow Colonels for a reception at the Hotel, featuring hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. Enjoy a presentation from a Dallas area World War II Veteran placing the CAF’s mission in focus. The evening will also feature updates from CAF units in the field.


8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. General Staff Meeting, Magnolia III

The General Staff will hold its traditional WSC meeting. This meeting is open to all members.

8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Breakfast with the CAF Staff - Headquarters Tour THIS TOUR IS FULL

11:30 a.m. Lunch and Opening Session, Magnolia I and II

Enjoy a buffet style lunch followed by the CAF’s traditional Roll Call welcome to Wing Staff. The Chief of Staff will introduce the 2017 General Staff and CAF President / CEO Steve Brown. Steve Brown will introduce the CAF’s Big Idea for 2017 – Collaboration and Teamwork.

Individual Sessions Begin (All tracks begin simultaneously, see schedule below)

1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Session 1

2 p.m. – 3 p.m. Session 2

3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Break Time with Catered Snacks

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Session 3

5:30 p.m. Informal Dinner and Social Time

Join your fellow CAF Colonels for an informal buffet dinner and social hour.

6:30 p.m. CAF@60 Screening of “The Battle of Britain”

As part of the celebration of the CAF’s history, join your fellow CAF Colonels for a screening of the movie "Battle of Britain" and some vintage CAF film reels. The movie will be introduced by Historian Brad Pilgrim and CAF Curator Keegan Chetwynd sharing stories from the filming of the movie, and raising a toast to the founder of the Commemorative Air Force.

Friday evening's Festivities are sponsored by the CAF's Third Coast Squadron Flight Line Service Oil Crew


Break-out Sessions

8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Session 4

9 a.m. – 10 a.m. Session 5

10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Break Time with Catered Snacks

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Session 6

11:30 a.m. Lunch and State of the CAF @ 60, Magnolia I and II

CAF President / CEO Steve Brown will present his annual State of the CAF address, highlighting the areas where the CAF is moving forward.

1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Session 7

2 p.m. – 3 p.m. Session 8

3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Break Time with Catered Snacks

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Session 9

6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. CAF Hall of Fame Reception and Silent Auction, Park Cities

7:00 p.m. CAF 60th Anniversary and Hall of Fame Banquet, Magnolia Ballroom (I - IV)

Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the CAF while we honor the 2017 Hall of Fame inductees Dick Disney (posthumously), Don Hinz (posthumously), Gene Armstrong and David Price. This event honors individuals who have made a significant positive impact to the organization. The evening events are included with your Wing Staff registration, however additional tickets and single tickets, as well as tables can be purchased for this event separately.  The evening is semi-formal attire.


8 a.m. Breakfast With the CAF President, Magnolia I

Enjoy Breakfast and conversation with CAF President/CEO Steve Brown. Bring your concerns and considerations to this open-format event.

11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. From Plains to Planes – the Dallas Story (additional ticket required)

Journey back in time with CAF Curator Keegan Chetwynd, as you visit the Nation’s most productive World War II aircraft factory, where more than 18,400 aircraft were built. View the production lines where P-51 Mustangs, and more than 12,967 AT-6/SNJs were constructed. Search for evidence of the more than 40,000 American men and women who worked to end the war, right here on the homefront, and walk the production line where B-24 Liberators were once rolled out two-abreast. Look out across the runways at NAS Dallas, and hear the stories of the nation’s largest contingent of Women pilots – who ferried airplanes away from the factory.

See the amazing Avion Village, where North American revolutionized construction technology, building houses in just 58 minutes to house their ballooning work force, and learn about what became of these houses – and the workers – after North American shuttered the plant in 1945.

Tour departs from the Magnolia Park Cities Hotel at 11:30 a.m. and returns at approximately 3 p.m. Seating is limited. Portions of this trip subject to changes in availability.

•        Tour is strictly limited to the first 38 participants who register. (Only 10 seats remain!)

•         Participants must be prepared to be able to walk for 1 mile (not all at once).

•         Tour starts and returns to the hotel, with transportation provided.

•         The tour bus will be accessing a closed facility, “join-ins” and “drop-outs” are not possible.

$30 per person. Price includes boxed lunch, please advise of any special dietary requirements.

Price includes transportation to-and-from the hotel, as well as a boxed lunch. Please note any special dietary requirements. Mark Plains to Planes - a Dallas Story on your registration form.

Note: Hotel rates remain valid until Monday to allow members to stay to enjoy Sunday’s activities.

About the sessions

Wing Staff Conference 2017: New Sessions, New Format

With the annual Wing Staff Conference fast approaching, it is time to announce some changes to the conference format! For several years we have been gathering feedback from the membership about what works at Wing Staff, and what doesn’t. We are pleased to announce that a number of changes are being implemented this year to improve the conference and to increase its value for members who attend.

The sessions at Wing Staff 2017 have been arranged by a program committee pulled from the membership, and each session is designed to showcase great ideas from across the CAF – spotlighting units who are out there “doing it effectively” in the field. Learn how to run your hangar dance from the units who have the experience, how to overcome operational challenges from the other unit leaders who have been there too and much, much more.

Operational Track

Maintenance: Friday, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Magnolia 3

A panel of CAF Maintenance Officers will discuss tips and techniques for success in their CAF unit for maintaining and recruiting maintainers. This discussion is an open session for collaboration and idea sharing. 

Operations: Friday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Magnolia 3

A panel of CAF Operations Officers will discuss tips and techniques for success in their CAF unit for maintaining and recruiting pilots and crewmembers This discussion is an open session for collaboration and idea sharing. 

Aeroshell and the CAF, Friday, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Magnolia 3

Aeroshell and the CAF have joined forces, offering considerable benefits to the CAF fleet. Come learn about this new program and how your unit could stand to benefit! If your unit is using Aeroshell oil, this is a must-see presentation!

Safety Stand-Down, Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 9 :00 a.m., Magnolia 3

This roundtable discussion will spotlight the incidents and accidents from 2016, placing an emphasis on the lessons learned as well as highlighting the importance of a positive safety culture at the unit level in 2017 and beyond.

CAF Aircraft Insurance: Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., Magnolia 3

Insurance in the CAF is an important topic in keeping the CAF safe. Greg Hiser and David Oliver will talk about insurance policies available to CAF aircraft and why they are important.  Greg will talk about the CAF loss ratio for 2016 and how to protect against increasing cost.

Risk Perception, Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Magnolia 3

Nobody wakes up in the morning intending to crash their warbird, yet why do some pilots not see it coming. The presentation will focus on the safety process that airlines, military and civilian organizations use to assess risk and make good decisions. Cognitive biases combined with blind spots prevent us from assess risk correctly. The presentation focuses on helping us better identify risks and mitigations. 

ADS-B Ready, Saturday, 1:00 p.m. -2:00 p.m., Magnolia 3

The FAA has mandated that all aircraft flying in certain airspace must be equipped with ADS-B by the year 2020. Concerned about how this might affect your unit or aircraft? Bill Goebel is a studied expert in ADS-B systems and installations. Goebel will speak about the system itself and be prepared to field questions about specific equipment for particular aircraft.

Formation Flying in the CAF: Saturday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Magnolia 3

Formation Flying is one of the most fun and challenging skills any aviator can master. Barry Hancock leads our CAF Formation Signatory for FAST and has made improvements on how we use formation flying in the CAF. Barry will discuss obstacles to certification and ways that we are working to improve standardization and make formation flying more accessible to CAF pilots.

AirCorp and Traxall, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Park Cities

AirCorp Library, and Traxall Maintenance Software are special guests of the CAF Wing Staff Conference. Each vendor will be given 30 minutes to present on the benefits of their product. The CAF has highlighted these vendors as critical to fulfilling the mission and purpose of the CAF.  

Sustainable Track

Unit Leadership, Friday, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Park Central

Untapped Income; Renting your Facility: Friday, 2:00 p.m. – 3: p.m., Park Central

If your Unit has a facility and you are not making it available for rentals, you may be missing out on a lucrative income stream. In addition to revenue, rentals can also raise the profile of your Unit in the community. This session will cover some of the pitfalls to avoid and tips on getting rental business in the door.

Hangar Dances and Other Events: Friday, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Park Central

Hangar Dances have taken on increased popularity in recent years due to many reasons including a renewed interest in Swing Dancing. These events can be daunting, if you are starting from scratch, but attend this session and hear from several Unit members who have helped hold successful Hangar Dances. In addition, we’ll talk about “Hops & Props”-style events which combine beer tasting with the historic aircraft in your facility.

Engaging Your Members: Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Park Central

It’s the same old story, 20 percent of your members produce 80 percent of the work. But what if you could change that ratio and strive to fully engage your membership? Members who feel a strong connection to your Unit and its mission are more likely to remain members and support your activities. This session will reveal tips for engaging your members and finding ways to keep them involved from three successful Unit leaders. CAF Members services staff will also be on hand to answer any general membership questions. 

Fundraising Tips and Tricks: Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., Park Central

Do you want to learn how to build better relationships with funders and top donors that lead to increased financial support? Are you interest in learning how to solicit and effectively manage sponsors from your local community for your events? Are you looking for practical tips and tools to take your fundraising efforts to the next level? This session is for you.

Using Social Media Effectively: Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Park Central

Social media can be one of the best tools units can use to communicate with the public. While it is very easy to access it may not seem easy to navigate. If you are looking to improve the way your unit uses Social Media networks, this is a great session to attend. Addressing a variety of best practices, as well as questions like, should I pay to boost my posts? And how often should I post a day will be discussed.

Running a Unit PX: Saturday, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Park Central

The PX is a staple program of the CAF for many units. Not only can it turn a profit, but it is also a way to engage members who may not have a desire to work on the aircraft. Running a PX can be difficult and there is a lot of gambling when making decisions on what to carry and how much of it to order. The best advice you can get is from other units who have been there done that. This panel has had some experience and success in running a unit PX.

Marketing Your Airplanes: Saturday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Park Central

There are harder things to do than to get people excited about flying war machines, but sometimes it still seems like more could be done to get riders, donors, event attendees and even members. Whether you come from a small or large group and have a trainer or a bomber, this session could help. This panel of CAF members come from a variety of different units and regions and will share with you some of the tricks and tools they use to help successfully market their aircraft to the public. Marketing is becoming an increasingly more important part of running a successful unit. We hope to see representation from each unit in this session in order to share and collaborate on how we can help each other execute and achieve marketing goals.

Selling Aircraft Rides: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Hillcrest

(David Oliver)

Impactful Track

Becoming Known in Your Community, Friday, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Mockingbird

We have all encountered people who live within a few miles of our hangar, who have never even heard of the CAF. The first step to impacting a community has to be becoming known. Join this panel discussion made up of unit PIOs and Community Relations Leaders to address the question “How does my unit become more well-known?”

Starting Small with Education, Friday, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Mockingbird

Engaging in youth education can be a daunting challenge to say the least. This session will tackle some of the programs designed to allow CAF units to approach the question of impact, and education in an easy way. Designed for the unit just beginning their journey in education.

Air Expos and Open Houses, Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., Mockingbird

CAF Units across the country are learning that Open Houses and Air Expo-format events can be a great opportunity to have an impact in your community. Come join the organizers of several such events as they outline best practices, and tips and tricks while also pointing out some of the potential pitfalls.

Living History @ CAF Events, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., Mockingbird

Living History and Re-enactment is a natural fit with CAF Events around the country. Hear from a panel of experienced Living History Enthusiasts about how their programming can be included in your event. Learn what their volunteers are looking for in an “experience” and how to identify groups within your own community!

RISE ABOVE Program Update, Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., University Park

Participate in a demonstration of the new technology being developed for the up-coming Rise Above National Education Program. Get hands on with the inflatable dome you have heard so much about – and talk with project leaders about the status of the new film CAF RISE ABOVE: WASP. Hosts: Bill Shepard and Kyle Doane

Telling a Story with your Airplanes, Saturday, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Mockingbird

Since the CAF was established, we have always endeavored to tell the stories of the World War II generation – a task which is easier said than done! Join a master storyteller he describes how to craft a compelling story around an aircraft, citing examples from his own collection and experience.

The Flea Market Behind Glass, Saturday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Mockingbird

Many unit museums struggle to relevance in today’s CAF. Join several unit leaders who are working to expand the role of their museums. Hear stories from the frontlines about interpretation, education – and even, how to address the politics which surround museums in units.

Hosting an Education Day, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Mockingbird

Join several CAF members who have hosted, and participated in “Education Days” held around the country. These are opportunities to welcome school groups to CAF events, and represent an exciting opportunity the CAF’s message to public educators.


Finance Officer Basic Training, Friday, 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Hillcrest
This session will cover the basics of establishing and maintaining Unit checking accounts, the structure of the CAF, and various billings such as MCRP, ANUAC and insurance. Additionally, items such as Proffer of Gifts, sales taxes, obtaining reimbursements from aircraft accounts and the Unit Financial Status Policy will be covered. A second session will be more advanced with emphasis on QuickBooks, Quicken and W-9/1099 reporting to Headquarters.

Advanced Finance, QuickBooks and Quicken, Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., Hillcrest
A deeper dive into QuickBooks and Quicken allowing you to learn more about how this software can help your Unit stay on track financially.

Finance Officer Advanced Training, Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., Hillcrest
Learn about fuel tax rebates, Texas Sales Tax, aircraft accounts and other topics relating to the financial health of your Unit.

What to do in Dallas 

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum "serves as a resource for the study of the life and career of George W. Bush, while also promoting a better understanding of the Presidency, American history, and important issues of public policy. The library and museum accomplishes its mission by preserving and providing access to Presidential records and other donated collections, hosting public programs, creating educational initiatives, preserving artifacts, and producing innovative museum exhibits." - Mission Statement

The Library and Museum is housed inside the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas - across US 75 North Central Expressway from the Magnolia Hotel. The Library and Museum is the 13th Presidential Library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration, a Federal agency.

Klyde Warren Park

Looking for a little greenspace to read a book? Look no further than Klyde Warren Park. This amazing space is built over the highway. Food trucks are available for your dining pleasure or you can try the restaurant at the park, Savor. The Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Garden are just across the street!

Mockingbird Station

This area, within walking distance of the Magnolia Hotel (.4 mi.), has great shopping, restaurants and a movie theater. The Angelika Film Center and Café is a wonderful place to catch the latest movies, and see some films you might not get in your hometown.

Northpark Center Mall

This is an upscale mall anchored by Nordstrom, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Dillard’s. Spend the day and shop ‘til you drop!

City of Dallas

There are many wonderful attractions to visit while you in Dallas and there are multiple ways to get there. There are art, science and history museums plus the Dallas World Aquarium and the Dallas Arboretum. With a little more windshield time (24 mi.), take a tour of the House That Jerry Built - AT&T Stadium - home of the Dallas Cowboys. It is an amazing structure. ie. Find out how much dirt they excavated for the stadium…and what they did with that dirt!

See all the choices for attractions and transportation at this link. There will also be maps and information at the CAF registration area when you check in for the conference.

There are also two casinos in Oklahoma, less than 1 ½ hour drive time from the hotel. Choctaw Casino Resort and Winstar Casino Resort.






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