The Commemorative Air Force, formerly known as the Confederate Air Force, is a Texas-based non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and showing historical aircraft.
The Origins of the CAF started in 1951, when Lloyd Nolen, a ex-USAAF Instructor Pilot, purchased a war surplus P-40 Warhawk. The group that would become the Confederate Air Force first got together in 1957, when four friends along with Nolen got together to purchase a P-51 Mustang.
The CAF then started its serious search for WWII aircraft to preserve. As the aircraft became more rare, not even the US Navy nor the USAF were making any attempt at preserving the aircraft that helped win the war (with the exception of notable aircraft like Bockscar and the Enola Gay). In 1961 they officially filed for non-profit status, and in 1968 they moved to Old Rebel Field (now Old Reb Airport 5XS6) in Mercedes, Texas.
Currently their headquarters is located in Midland, TX at Midland International Airport (KMAF), where they moved to in 1991. They operate 145 aircraft based in 24 states. Their aircraft range from the small Stinson L-5 and Ryan PT-22, to the Boeing B-29 (the only flying example remaining), and B-17. They also operate Axis and exotic aircraft such as Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero, and Mig 17 Fresco C.
The original name, Confederate Air Force, started as a simple joke. As the collection of "warbirds" started to grow someone painted the name on the side of one of the planes. The name stuck. In 2002 they changed the name to Commemorative Air Force because several corporate sponsors found the word "confederate" offensive.
Other large collections of flying historic aircraft include
- Commemorative Air Force (http://www.commemorativeairforce.org/) - official site
- AirNav (http://airnav.com/airport/5XS6/) - Old Reb Airport Information
- AirNav (http://airnav.com/airport/KMAF/) - Midland International Airport Information