NEW ORLEANS (October 27, 2014) — The National WWII Museum’s first-ever WWII AirPower Expo, in partnership with the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), was an unqualified success. More than 10,000 visitors came to the Lakefront Airport over the weekend to climb inside restored planes, including a B-17, C-45, and the world’s only flying B-29. Visitors were also able to speak with the veterans who flew iconic WWII aircraft, like Doolittle Raider Dick Cole.
“The response is truly a testament to the lasting importance of the American experience in World War II,” said Museum president and CEO Gordon “Nick” Mueller. “To see generations coming together like this to pass down stories of the war was priceless—a living, breathing example of the Museum’s mission.”
The Lakefront Airport, opened in 1934, was transported to another time—not only by the WWII-era planes, but also vehicles from The National WWII Museum collection, reenactors from across the region, and the vintage harmonies of the Museum’s Victory Belles singing trio.
CAF President Stephan Brown echoed Mueller’s comments, saying, “We couldn't be happier with the result of this weekend's WWII Air Power Expo. The attendees enjoyed seeing all of the airplanes and artifacts—as well as meeting the hero-veterans of World War II. The staff and volunteers at the WWII Museum were wonderful to work with and we can't wait to come back next year!”
Throughout the weekend, there were opportunities to take ride-along flights in the historic planes. Guests could also dance the night away at AirPower Swing in the beautifully restored airport terminal.
The stunning attendance numbers include more than 700 local students who came to the Expo free of charge on Friday thanks to the generous support of Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Smith Lupo. WWII Airpower Expo 2014 was presented with the support of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, with additional support from Hawthorne Global Aviation Services and Acadian Ambulance Services.
For those who missed it or just can’t wait to climb inside the B-29 again, the Museum intends to bring this event back in fall 2015. In the meantime, soaring aircraft like the B-17, C-47, and others are on display at the Museum’s growing campus, located in New Orleans’ Warehouse District.
Collecting and flying warbirds for over half a century, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) is the largest flying museum in the world. The CAF is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to honoring American military aviation history through flight, exhibition and remembrance. The organization feels this is best accomplished by keeping the aircraft flying. The CAF has approximately 11,000 members and a fleet of over 160 airplanes assigned to 70 units across the country. These units, comprised of CAF volunteer members, restore and operate the planes which are viewed by more than 10 million spectators annually. Visit commemorativeairforce.org for more information.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, teamwork, optimism, courage, and sacrifice of the men and women who served on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org. Follow us on Twitter at WWIImuseum or on Facebook.