As a part of its eightieth anniversary year, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is joining forces with the D-Day Squadron to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day. The D-Day Squadron is organizing a flight of restored C-47 and DC-3 (the civilian version of the C-47) aircraft across the North Atlantic next spring in a historic tribute to the veterans that took part in the invasion of Europe. With hundreds of thousands of members spanning 75 countries, AOPA is the largest aviation community in the world, representing a strong endorsement of the mission of the D-Day Squadron.
"AOPA and the D-Day Squadron are working together to educate the public about the amazing 75th anniversary of D-Day and the reason it’s worth celebrating,” stated Tom Haines, Senior Vice President, Media, Communications and Outreach for AOPA. “AOPA was formed 80 years ago to protect against undue restrictions on private flying as the war began in Europe and to give general aviation pilots a unified voice. Five years later the D-Day invasion commenced in an effort to assure those sorts of freedom to people across Europe.”
The D-Day Squadron consists of rare civilian and military survivors, such as Tunison Foundation’s Placid Lassie, Museum of Mountain Flying’s Miss Montana and the Commemorative Air Force’s That’s All, Brother. To date, 19 restored aircraft are committed to fly along the original route across the North Atlantic to join with its European counterpart, Daks over Normandy. These groups will create an aerial fleet over Normandy on June 5th and participate in multiple events on both sides of the English Channel. Events will take place on June 2nd-5th at Duxford Airfield in the United Kingdom and from June 5th-9th at Caen-Carpiquet Airport in Normandy, France.
“We will be cooperating on events and other activities to help the D-Day Squadron raise awareness of their mission to get these aircraft into England and ultimately over Normandy to honor the sacrifices of so many 75 years ago,” Haines said.
"We are extremely pleased and grateful to work with AOPA,” declared Moreno Aguiari, Executive Director of the D-Day Squadron. “This organization does an exceptional job serving the interests of its members as aircraft owners and pilots, and to promote the economy, safety, utility and popularity of flight in general aviation aircraft. Together we will honor aviation heritage and the sacrifice made by the men and women of the Greatest Generation."
The D-Day Squadron is the part of the Tunison Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. In June 2019, the D-Day Squadron will lead an American fleet of historic, restored C-47 World War II military aircraft in Daks Over Normandy, a flyover of more than 30 international aircraft to drop 250 paratroopers over the original 1944 drop zones in Normandy commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The event will honor the citizen soldiers of the War, whose bravery led the Allies to the liberation of France, and then to an end of the devastating War in Europe. The Squadron’s education program takes the compelling story of the citizen soldier to audiences at airshows and events off the flight line to honor these brave Americans and ensure their memory and significance is appreciated for generations to come. The group’s efforts are funded through the generous tax-deductible contribution of their supporters. Learn more at DDaySquadron.org.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association advocates on behalf of members, educating pilots, non-pilots, and policy makers alike. It supports activities that ensure the long-term health of General Aviation, fighting to keep General Aviation accessible to all. The AOPA team operates out of offices in Frederick, Maryland, Washington, DC, and seven regional offices. Learn more at www.aopa.org.
By all accounts, the Props and Pistons Show and Shine held on Sunday, May 27, at Red Deer Airport was a tremendous success. According to the airport’s director of marketing and communications, Nicole Holinaty, the organizers had originally hoped that 200 people would attend the event. Instead, crowds of multiple thousands of enthusiasts arrived to attend the Show and Shine, which served as a fundraiser for the Red Deer Food Bank. In that regard, the event was definite success, having raised $4,035 for the charitable organization. Visitors also donated 2,305 pounds (1,046 kg) of food. As a secondary objective, the event served to introduce the public, and the youth in particular, to airport tenants and the aviation industry in general. The first Props and Pistons Show and Shine dramatically exceeded expectations as almost 50 aircraft and about 200 classic and modified cars were on display, with several food trucks serving attendees. Some of the more interesting aircraft on static display included an RCMP Pilatus PC-12, a Douglas A-26 waterbomber and the Fairview Restoration Society’s Canso.
The restorers of a North American XP-82 Twin Mustang, one of the most unusual fighter/escort aircraft ever deployed by the U.S. military, are aiming to make EAA AirVenture 2018 its first public appearance to celebrate completion of an arduous ten-year restoration project.
The 66th annual Experimental Aircraft Association fly-in convention will be held in July at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The event is the world’s largest annual gathering of vintage warbird aircraft, with more than 300 participating each year among the 10,000 airplanes that arrive in the region for the event.
The ten-year restoration project in Douglas, Georgia, began after aircraft restorer Tom Reilly discovered the complete airframe on a farm in Ohio. Reilly then scoured the earth seeking engines, propellers and a multitude of other XP-82 parts to continue the restoration.
“The interest and enthusiasm for this restoration has been wonderful and gratifying,” said Reilly, who has chronicled the restoration process online. “There is no better place than Oshkosh to make the first public flights of this aircraft, which is why it is our intent to complete the restoration and testing so we can be a part of AirVenture 2018.”
The XP-82 restoration brings back a unique flying example of an aircraft designed late in World War II as a long-range fighter escort to accompany B-29 bombers for thousands of miles on missions over the Pacific Ocean. Based on the highly successful P-51 Mustang design, the XP-82 used twin fuselages and two specially designed Rolls-Royce Packard-built Merlin engines to supply the speed, range and armament needed for the task. Fewer than 300 of the airplanes were produced as the P-82, with all but five scrapped in the years after the Korean War as the military moved to jet aircraft.
“It has been decades since people have seen this aircraft type fly anywhere,” said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member programs, who coordinates AirVenture features and attractions. “The return of this historic aircraft to the sky is a tribute to the vision and perseverance of the restoration team, and it’s fitting that the group has AirVenture as a goal to fly this beauty before a huge, appreciative audience.”
EAA AirVenture is known as the “World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” and is EAA’s yearly membership convention. For further information, please visit www.eaa.org/airventure.
The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) AirPower History Tour will bring the sights, sounds, and stories of World War II aviation to 26 cities in North America this summer including 8 cities in Canada. It is the first time in history the B-29 Superfortress, one of only two in the world that still fly, will be available for tours and rides at Canadian stops.
The tour’s collection of World War II aircraft provides powerful history lessons to audiences across North America. Visitors to the ramp will be able to view the aircraft up close and tour the cockpit when the airplane is not flying.
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, first flown in 1942, began active service in 1944 and is perhaps best known as the aircraft whose missions over Japan helped bring about the end of World War II. It was designed as a replacement for the older B-17s and B-24s, with longer range and greater bomb loads. The B-29 was also used in the Korean War in the early 1950s and was a staple of the U.S. Air Force until later that decade. FIFI was acquired by the CAF in the early 1970s when a group of CAF members found her at the U.S. Navy Proving Ground at China Lake, California where she was intended to be used as a missile target. The airplane was rescued and restored and has flown for over 40 years traveling coast to coast each year attracting large crowds at every tour stop.