EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

[ NEWS ]

  Latest News
  Awards / Group Photos
  Media Room
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedRed Tail Mustang returns
EAA AirVenture Today

August 2, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin  - A special P-51C Mustang fighter displayed at AeroShell Square this year has just tested its wings after five years of reconstruction following a fatal crash. The Red Tail Project P-51 is painted to represent Tuskegee Airmen who fought color barriers in World War II to fly as fighter pilots in combat.

Flown by Commemorative Air Force (CAF) pilot Doug Rozendaal, who also serves as the Red Tail Project leader, this P-51C stands as a memorial to Tuskegee Airmen as well as to pilot Don Hinz who lost his life in the crash of this aircraft on Memorial Day weekend in 2004.

Major portions of the fuselage and wings were fabricated by Tri-State Aviation in Wahpeton, North Dakota, and Odegaard Wings in Kindred, North Dakota, Rozendaal said. First flight after rebuilding was July 22.

Already, the son of a Tuskegee Airman has flown the rebuilt Red Tail, Rozendaal said.

Photo by Stefan Seville
The Commemorative Air Force Red Tail P-51C is back on the circuit after extensive rebuild.

With rebuilding costs in the $1 million range, a nationwide fundraising campaign made possible the return of the Red Tail P-51C, Rozendaal explained. Some large donations helped, while a mail-in campaign also appealed to thousands of individuals around the country. “We built this airplane with 20-dollar- bills,” he added.

Rozendaal is emphatic that this warbird needs to be more than just a beautiful air show machine.

It is the beginning of an inspirational CAF plan that will incorporate a tractor trailer mobile exhibit to take a Tuskegee Airmen-themed display to schools and other off-airport locations where the Mustang itself cannot go.

The Red Tail Project’s educational program, called Rise Above, focuses on six ideals exemplified by the Tuskegee Airmen: “aim high; believe in yourself; use your brain; be ready to go; never quit; and expect to win,” project literature explains.

“We’ve got to refocus to use the airplanes to tell a story,” Rozendaal said.

Outcome-oriented historical aviation exhibits are joining hands-on exhibits in a quest to reach far from the runway, to audiences that might otherwise miss the excitement, and the messages, that abound at AirVenture 2009.

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
Copyright © 2014 EAA, Inc.
All content, logos, pictures, and videos are the property of the EAA, Inc.
EAA Aviation Center, 3000 Poberezny Road, Oshkosh, WI 54902
If you have any comments or questions contact webmaster@eaa.org.
Disclaimer/Privacy Policy