Texas Flying Legends Museum to Sponsor CAF Traveling Tuskegee Airmen Exhibit
Working to bring ‘Rise Above’ to AirVenture 2011
April 28, 2011 — The Texas Flying Legends Museum (TFLM) will donate $1 million to the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) for CAF’s traveling Red Tail “Rise Above” Mobile Exhibition and Education Tour based on the history of the Tuskegee Airmen. “Rise Above” will tour the country approximately 40 weeks each year. Tuesday through Thursday each week, it will visit schools and other places to reach youths, then will join with the CAF’s P-51C Tuskegee Airmen on weekends at aviation events and other public venues. Efforts are under way to bring the exhibit to AirVenture Oshkosh 2011.
Calling it an “important and exciting step” for the Commemorative Air Force, CAF President Stephan Brown commented, “The generous support of the Texas Flying Legends Museum will give us the opportunity to share the inspirational story of the Tuskegee Airmen with a new generation, in a powerful presentation.”
The exhibit will be housed in a 53-foot mobile unit, telling the Tuskegee Airmen’s story. The goal is to inspire today’s youth to reach beyond their grasp and rise above to attain new levels of achievement as the Tuskegee Airmen did in World War II.
CAF Red Tail was started in the 1990s as a “project” by a group of volunteer members from the Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing. The group lead by pilot and entrepreneur Don Hinz wanted to restore a P-51 that would create interest in the history and legacy of the first black military pilots who flew this type of airplane during WWII, the Tuskegee Airmen.
In 2001, the P-51 restoration was completed and Tuskegee Airmen took to the skies. Tragedy struck three years later when a catastrophic engine malfunction caused a fatal crash killing Hinz, who was at the controls. Even as they grieved for their friend and leader, the members of the CAF Red Tail never wavered. They rallied and with the guidance and leadership of Doug Rozendaal, Hinz’s friend and fellow visionary, rebuilt Tuskegee Airmen and now continue their mission to use it as a tool to create interest in the Tuskegee story.