CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolinas Aviation Museum at Charlotte Douglas International Airport will host the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Red Tail Squadron’s RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit honoring the Tuskegee Airmen Feb. 26-March 2.
Sponsored by Duke Energy, the Traveling Exhibit, which will feature a P-51 Mustang similar to the one used by the Airmen, will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
While there is no charge to experience the Traveling Exhibit, there is a $12 fee for museum admittance. For this event, however, the museum has waived that fee for those 18 and younger.
The Tuskegee Airmen, sometimes known as “Red Tails,” were the first black fighter pilots to serve in the U.S. Army Air Corps (now U.S. Air Force) in World War II. They painted the tails of their fighters red. After seeing the Airmen’s bravery and skill, bomber pilots began requesting the “red tail angels” as escorts to protect their “big heavies” from German fighters.
The Tuskegee Airmen flew more than 15,000 combat sorties and earned hundreds of medals and designations, including the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 in honor of their military service to the United States.
The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit is a customized 53-foot trailer with expandable sides that houses a 160° curved movie screen and seating for 30 in a climate-controlled theater. It is part of an educational initiative to help visitors understand and appreciate the history and legacy of this group of black pilots.
A short original movie called “Rise Above” focuses on what the Tuskegee Airmen and their support personnel overcame to fly and fight for their country during World War II. It also features some great flying footage involving the P-51C Mustang.
“This is the second year the Carolinas Aviation Museum has been able to bring this exhibit to the people of the Charlotte area,” said Shawn Dorsch, president, Carolinas Aviation Museum. “Last year’s appearance was one of the most popular events of the year.”
“Duke Energy is again sponsoring RISE ABOVE not only for its wealth of historic information, but for its unique educational outreach program that encourages visitors to ‘rise above’ all challenges,” said Richard “Stick” Williams, president of the Duke Energy Foundation. “The messages in this exhibit are universal. It emphasizes the importance of studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The Airmen combined their education with courage and perseverance to achieve their goals.”