OSHKOSH — Today at AirVenture, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) named the eight final locations under consideration for the home of the new CAF headquarters, which will be known as the National Airbase.
The search for a new headquarters began in May with more than 25 cities throwing their hats in the ring for consideration.
After meeting with officials from all the cities, CAF officials narrowed it down to eight finalists:
- Alliance Airport, Ft. Worth, Texas
- Collin County Airport, McKinney, Texas (Dallas Metropolitan)
- Dallas Executive Airport, Dallas, Texas
- Ellington Field Airport, Houston, Texas
- Lackland/Kelly Airport, San Antonio, Texas
- New Century Airport, Kansas City/Olathe, Kansas
- North Texas Regional Airport, Sherman/Dennison, Texas (Dallas Metropolitan)
- Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport, Smyrna, Tennessee (Nashville Metropolitan)
“Each of these eight locations has the potential to help propel the Commemorative Air Force to a higher plane of awareness and national impact,” said CAF President/CEO Stephan C. Brown. “Our mission is education – such that Americans will value and support the contributions of military aviation in assuring our nation’s freedom. In order to reach and impact the largest audience possible, the CAF is in need of a strong location that offers a significant permanent population, as well as a thriving tourism opportunity.”
The CAF National Airbase facility will feature a year-round aviation attraction, house headquarters staff and member-volunteers who will organize and execute an annual warbird airshow and fly-in, as well as be a base of operations for some of the CAF’s most significant flying vintage military aircraft.
“We were excited to see strong interest from many communities across the country which our team carefully evaluated,” said Brown. “The CAF Board of Directors worked closely with international real estate and consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle to host a bidders’ conference in Dallas in early June where 23 locations were represented. Within the few short weeks following the conference, the Board of Directors received 18 inquiries from across the country. After carefully scrutinizing each location, the board narrowed potential sites to these eight strong prospects. Over the next few months, the CAF Board of Directors will conduct an extensive investigation, proposal and negotiation process to further narrow the potential sites and ultimately select a new location.”
At the CAF Annual General Membership Meeting in October, the CAF membership will vote to give the CAF Board of Directors the authority to select the location of the National Airbase from the list of finalists. The formal voting process will require three-fourths approval of the voting membership. At the conclusion of an externally-audited vote, the CAF Board of Directors will begin the next stage of the selection process.
Each of the eight locations will be analyzed to ensure the final selection accommodates all of the criteria put forth by the board of directors, CAF officials said. The home of the new CAF headquarters operation will be located in a major metropolitan area with a minimum population of 1 million people with ease of access to tourists and CAF membership through a nearby major international airport and an infrastructure of interstate highways. Other criteria include:
- Approximately 150 to 200 acres adjacent to an airport capable of supporting CAF facilities, operations and a significant fly-in or airshow
- Strong local demographics and easy access to a large pool of potential visitors and members
- A major reliever airport with limited scheduled carrier activity
- Open airspace around and above the airport
- Runway length of 7,000 by 150 feet or more
- Visibility and ease of access
- Room and ability to grow
- Cooperative airport management and tower
- Runways, taxiways and ramp areas capable of handling the aircraft of the CAF fleet
Brown said the board of directors envisions this new National Airbase as the pinnacle of the organization’s 60 existing facilities currently spread over 28 states and maintained by the CAF’s 10,000 member-volunteers.
“The CAF National Airbase will house and serve as a stage to share a rotating group of the most significant military aviation assets in history,” Brown concluded. “For more than 55 years we have been restoring, maintaining and operating the world’s largest fleet of flying vintage military aircraft and we expect this Airbase to become a premier destination for the chosen host city.”
In 1957, a small group of ex-service pilots pooled their money to purchase a P-51 Mustang, beginning what is now called the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). With the addition of a pair of F8F Bearcats, the CAF became the founders of the Warbird Movement, an effort to preserve and honor our military history with the rallying cry to “Keep ‘Em Flying!” Now, more than 55 years later, the CAF operates 157 vintage aircraft. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has more than 10,000 members and its fleet of historic aircraft is distributed to 83 units located in 25 states for care and operation.
For more information: CommemorativeAirForce.org or 432-563-1000.