Thu, Jul 30, 2009
CAF Debuts Red Tail P-51C After Major Restoration
By Chris Batcheller
The CAF (Commemorative Air Force) has spent 5 years restoring
this P-51C after it was involved in a crash in which pilot Don Hinz
was killed. The airplane flew for the first time just five
days before Oshkosh 2009. The airplane was flown by Brad Lang, a
Delta Airline Captain and the son of Tuskegee Airman Donald Lang.
This marks the end of the first phase of their project called
“The Red Tail Project”.
The next phase of their plan will raise money to purchase a 53
foot trailer to support their educational program called Rise
Above. This program is dedicated to telling the story of the
Tuskegee Airmen and to inspire today’s youth. The trailer
would be used as a traveling exhibit to accompany the P-51C at
exhibitions across the country.
The CAF thanked the volunteers and folks who made financial
donations to complete the restoration. The CAF Red Tail
Project volunteers worked tirelessly since 2004 to restore the
airplane after the accident.
Ret. Col.Charles McKee was also on hand to debut the red tail
mustang. Col. McKee was Tuskegee Airman number 78. He named his
airplane “Kitten” for his wife and because his crew
chief kept the engine purring. Col. McKee is credited with one
air-to-air kill in August 1944 and he is also credited with
destroying many aircraft on the ground. He flew 48 out of 54
strategic missions in an airplane similar to the one here today at
Oshkosh 2009. “This P-51 stands out” he noted
“this is a means to pass on values to young people
today” he went on to say.
Col. Charles McKee (Ret)
The CAF is one of the largest private aviation organizations in
the world. They have been collecting, restoring and flying vintage
historical aircraft for more than half a century. A a non-profit
educational organization with approximately 9,000 members and a
fleet of 156 airplanes, they are dedicated to honoring American
Military Aviation through flight, exhibition and remembrance.
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