NEW ORLEANS (September 28, 2015) — Building on the popularity of last year’s event, The National WWII Museum and the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) are proud to present WWII AirPower Expo 2015—a three-day display of WWII warbirds in action. From October 23 to 25, an expansive fleet of vintage WWII aircraft—including the only flying B-29 Superfortress—will be on-site at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport, offering close contact with the planes and pilots that liberated the skies above the Pacific and Europe.
With nearly 12,000 visitors in attendance, last year’s inaugural expo garnered tremendous accolades for the Museum. This year, visitors will enjoy exclusive access to nearly double the number of aircraft, mechanics and WWII veteran pilots themselves, including one of the first heroes of World War II, Lt. Col. Richard Cole. Cole, now 100 years old, was a co-pilot in the “Doolittle Raid,” a daring airstrike against Tokyo following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
An extremely dangerous mission, the “Doolittle Raid” called for pilots to take off in their B-25 bombers from the deck of an aircraft carrier, something no one had done before in combat. “The Doolittle Raiders, and all WWII pilots, symbolize the innovation and bravery of our great nation,” explains Stephen Watson, executive vice president and COO of The National WWII Museum. “Lt. Cole is one of only two surviving members of the Raiders—we are so grateful to welcome him, along with numerous other veterans, to the expo to share their stories of fighting for our freedom.”
Lt. Col. Richard Cole will be available Friday, Saturday and Sunday to discuss his experience. Veteran reunion groups, including the 57th Bomb Wing, 90th Bomb Group and Stalag Luft III will also be in attendance, among others. Additionally, select veteran attendees will participate in an interview series where guests will have the opportunity to ask questions and thank them for their sacrifice and service.
The 2015 Airpower Expo will also feature the CAF Red Tail Squadron’s signature traveling exhibit “Rise Above”—an educational experience comprised of a static P-51 Mustang painted in the Red Tail configuration, as well as a film about the Tuskegee Airmen and the obstacles they overcame as they trained and fought as the first African American pilots. The exhibit includes a mobile theater with a 160-degree panoramic screen that creates the feeling of being inside the cockpit, soaring above the clouds. As audience members learn about the bravery and resilience of the Tuskegee Airmen, they will also learn the story of more than 10,000 other black men and women who trained for or otherwise supported the flight program.
Additional activities throughout the weekend include cockpit tours, expanded reenactor camps, hands-on history exhibits, veteran meet-and-greets and performances by the Museum’s Victory Belles—a 1940s-style singing trio. Guests will also have the opportunity to purchase tickets for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to fly aboard some of the majestic aircraft.
Vintage military aircraft to be featured at the expo include the B-29 Superfortress FIFI, a B-25J Mitchell, a B-17 Flying Fortress, a SB2C Helldiver, a C-47 Skytrain, a SBD Dauntless, a P-40 Warhawk, a P-51 Mustang and many more*. Guests can also view ground vehicles from the Museum’s diverse collection, including a high-speed M-2 Tractor, a Dodge WC-54 Ambulance and an M-3 Stuart Tank.
All-access passes and general admission tickets can be purchased in advance through the AirPower Expo website (www.ww2airpowerexpo.org) or by phone (504) 528-1944. General admission tickets will also be available at the entry gate each day. School groups and members of the military enjoy free admission on Friday, October 23. School groups must register with Shelbie Johnson at (504) 528-1944 x 425.
Rides on WWII aircraft will be sold on-site at the AirPower Expo. To purchase advance tickets, or to speak with a ride coordinator, visit www.airpowersquadron.org.
View the complete WWII AirPower Expo 2015 schedule, and the complete list of attending aircraft below.
The Commemorative Air Force honors the men and women who built, maintained and flew in these airplanes during World War II. The organization believes that is best accomplished by maintaining the airplanes in flying condition and by taking the airplanes to the people, allowing them to experience the sights and sounds of the aircraft in flight.
Collecting, restoring and flying historical aircraft for more than half a century, the Commemorative Air Force ranks as one of the largest private air forces in the world. The CAF is dedicated to honoring American military aviation through flight, exhibition and remembrance. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has more than 12,000 members and a fleet of over 160 airplanes distributed throughout the country to units located in 24 states for care and operation. For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org.
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 nationalww2museum.org. Follow us on Twitter at WWIImuseum or on Facebook.
The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots, and their support personnel. The organization’s three-fold outreach program includes an authentic, fully restored WWII-era P-51C Mustang, the signature aircraft of the Tuskegee Airmen; the “Rise Above” traveling exhibit mobile theater, featuring the original panoramic film “Rise Above”; and educational materials and programs for teachers and youth leaders. The CAF Red Tail Squadron is part of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). To learn more about the organization, its mission or to become a donor, visit www.redtail.org.
WWII AirPower Expo 2015
New Orleans Lakefront Airport, James Wedell Hangar
Friday, October 23, 2015 | 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday, October 24, 2015 | 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday, October 25, 2015 | 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
- CAF cockpit tours
- CAF aircraft flights (additional ticket required)
- WWII aviator veterans on-site
- WWII ground vehicles on-site
- WWII veteran interview series
- “Rise Above” traveling exhibit
- Hands-on history exhibits
- Expanded reenactor camps
- Crafts and educational activities
- Performances by the Victory Belles throughout the day
- Souvenir shop
- Concessions by Messina's
*COMPLETE LIST OF ATTENDING AIRCRAFT
Lineup subject to change without notice
- B-29 Superfortress
- B-25J Mitchell
- B-25 PBJ Mitchell
- B-17 Flying Fortress
- C-47 Skytrain
- P-51D Mustang
- P-51C Mustang
- A-26 Invader
- SB2C Helldiver
- FG1-D Corsair
- P-40 Warhawk
- P-39 Airacobra
- SBD Dauntless
- T-6 Texan
- PT-13 Stearman
- PT-22 Recruit