The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Red Tail Squadron, America’s tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, and AirCorps Aviation, specialists in the restoration, maintenance, and rebuilding of vintage WWII aircraft, on 01 December 2016, announced the successful return to flight of the Squadron’s P-51C Mustang of the Tuskegee Airmen. The aircraft will return to the 2017 Air Show Circuit.
The aircraft had been out of commission for eight months to undergo careful and meticulous repair following a hard landing. The aircraft made a safe and successful test flight on December 1, and is expected to return shortly to its mission to honor the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen at air shows and events around the country.
“There were no issues with the test flight and the aircraft flew great,” said Doug Rozendaal, one of the founders of the CAF Red Tail Squadron who piloted the aircraft. “We can now get the P-51 back up in the air where it belongs, inspiring young people to rise above adversity, just like the Tuskegee Airmen. We look forward to filling up our 2017 schedule with air shows and events that will give us the opportunity to fulfill our important mission.”
The success of this test flight marks the first step in getting the aircraft back on the air show circuit. The mission of the CAF Red Tail Squadron is to educate audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. The P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen plays a pivotal role in this outreach effort, along with the Squadron’s RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit mobile movie theater.
“One of the Six Guiding Principles of the CAF Red Tail Squadron is to never quit. The decision to repair the Mustang is a great example of that principle,” said Erik Hokuf, managing partner of AirCorps Aviation. “Our team was proud to help bring this very special aircraft back to flying status so it can once again inspire young people to rise above their own obstacles, just like the Tuskegee Airmen.”
Supporters of the CAF Red Tail Squadron and warbird enthusiasts have been able to track the process in real time with AirCorps Aviation’s up-to-date status reports and photos on the Squadron’s Facebook page. Over 3,000 hours were logged to get the P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen back in the air.
“I have a long history with the P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen as I was involved in both the first and second restorations,” said Mark Tisler, manager of restorations and one of the owners of AirCorps Aviation. “The CAF Red Tail Squadron teaches young people to never allow obstacles or circumstances to stop them from achieving their goals. The two restorations and the repair demonstrate the Squadron not only believes those teachings but also sets an example of how to overcome obstacles.”
For further information about how to bring the CAF Red Tail Squadron’s P-51C Mustang Tuskegee Airmen to your community, event or school, contact Kristi Younkin, CAF Red Tail Squadron logistics coordinator, at email@example.com or (479) 228-4520. Go to the Red Tails’ Website to find out more.