In addition to the Collings Foundation Wings of Freedom Tour the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) AirPower History Tour often visit Florida in the Spring though they did not attend in 2015 or 2017 and there is no word yet on 2018.
For the 2016 tour, the Commemorative Air Force flew their Boeing B–29 Superfortress “FiFi”, Boeing B–17 Flying Fortress “Texas Raiders”, North American P–51 Mustang “Red Nose”, Beech C–45 Expediter “Bucket of Bolts”, North American T–6 Texan, Boeing Stearman and Beechcraft T–34 Mentor.
In previous years, the Commemorative Air Force have displayed their Consolidated B–24 Liberator, Curtis SB2C Helldiver and Fairchild PT–19.
The highlight of the Commemorative Air Force fleet has to be the only flying example of the Boeing B–29 Superfortress which should visit all Florida stops.
They fly into a number of regional airports and general admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children under 18. Children 10 and under are free.
Included in the price of admission is a free tour of the B–29 cockpit.
You can also get some idea of what it was like to fly in these amazing aircraft with rides being available in all the aircraft. Prices start at $65 for the C–45.
The B–29 is able to take a number of passengers on each flight and prices range from $570 if you sit in the rear fuselage all the way up to $1,495 for the bombardier station in the nose.
Note that some aircraft, in particular the B–29 do not fly every day and not all aircraft will be at each Florida venue so it is best to check the schedules if you wish to see a specific aircraft.
Commemorative Air Force AirPower History Tour Schedule (Florida Locations)
Tour schedule/locations for 2016 were:
|February 24 to 28, 2016||St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport [Signature Flight Support]|
|March 2 to 6, 2016||Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport [Rectrix Aerodrome Center]|
|March 7 to 9, 2016||Leesburg International Airport [SunAir Aviation]|
|March 11 to 13, 2016||Space Coast Regional Airport [Valiant Air Command Museum]|
|March 11 to 13, 2016||Punta Gorda Airport|
|March 16 to 20, 2016||Naples Municipal Airport|
|March 23 to 27, 2016||Lakeland Linder Regional Airport [Sheltair Aviation]|
|March 30 to April 3, 2016||Daytona Beach Airport [Sheltair Aviation]|
History of the Commemorative Air Force
The Commemorative Air Force is a non-profit organisation and was originally founded in 1957 under the name Confederate Air Force with the aim of preserving and restoring World War II era aircraft.
The name, Confederate Air Force, was originally chosen as a bit of a joke to represent their rebellious beginnings and the pilots are still referred to as Colonels to this day. In 2002 after a membership vote the name was changed to the Commemorative Air Force.
In total the Commemorative Air Force has over 150 aircraft in its collection (with around 100 of them in flying condition) and collectively they are known as the Ghost Squadron.
Though the Commemorative Air Force started out in Texas, today it has over 11,000 members with “wings” in 27 states and overseas.