The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) has launched its annual “12 Planes of Christmas” online giving campaign.
The campaign highlights the efforts of the organization and its volunteer members, who restore and preserve its fleet of more than 170 World War II aircraft. Individuals can learn about the CAF fleet at SupportCAF.org to identify aircraft that spark their interest — and make a donation to aid one or more specific aircraft. 100% of the donations goes to the selected aircraft.
Each year 12 aircraft of the fleet are selected to be featured during the “12 Planes of Christmas” campaign, each with different historical significance and in various stages of restoration, with some needing support to become airworthy again.
The aircraft featured this year are: P-40 Warhawk, C-53 Skytrooper, FG-1D Corsair, PT-17 Stearman, Stinson 10A, AT-11 Kansan, L-17 Navion, A-26 Invader, PT-19 Cornell, N3N, PBY Catalina, and BT-13 Valiant.
Donations can be made at SupportCAF.org to these individual aircraft projects or other aircraft in the fleet. Donations can also be directed to the Restoration Grant Fund, a fund that has helped more than 20 aircraft in need of restoration return to flight. As donations to the Restoration Fund are matched, the value of each donation doubles in value.
“Flying aircraft are essential to the mission of the CAF; we are first and foremost a flying museum,” said CAF President Bob Stenevik. “Because our aircraft fly, people are more excited and engaged to learn about the history of these aircraft. 12 Planes of Christmas has become a very important program for the CAF. It significantly helps to preserve these aircraft, which serve as reminders of the sacrifices of the Greatest Generation. Our organization depends on donations and support from individuals who can appreciate the value of these historic icons and want to help keep ‘em flying.”
The campaign will run through Dec. 31, 2017.
About this year’s 12 Planes:
1. P-40 Warhawk (Muskogee, Oklahoma) The P-40 Warhawk was grounded in September when metal was found in the engine. So that audiences of all ages can see the famous shark teeth on the aircraft, a new engine must be installed to participate in the 2018 Airshow Season. Learn more about this aircraft.
2. C-53 Skytrooper (Riverside, California) This aircraft, also a D-Day veteran, will need to be outfitted with additional avionics and navigation gear in order to participate in the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France in 2019. Learn more about this aircraft.
3: FG-1D Corsair (Peachtree City, Georgia) In the midst of a major restoration, the Corsair’s next hurdle is to remove and replace the fuel tank. For a Corsair, it’s bent-wing structure makes this a particularly difficult, but an important task, as this aircraft is meant to be seen flying. Learn more about this aircraft.
4: PT-17 Stearman (Lancaster, Texas) For 30 years, this Stearman has given young and old aviation enthusiasts a ride of a lifetime.
With the discovery of the aircraft’s linage, new fabric and paint are needed to tell the story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Learn more about this aircraft.
5: Stinson 10A (Madison, Mississippi) This Stinson 10A will be restored to its World War II configuration in order to share the important role of the Civil Air Patrol in World War II. When restored, it will help commemorate the civilian pilots which gallantly patrolled the home front. Learn more about this aircraft.
6: AT-11 Kansan (Moriarty, New Mexico) This airplane actually served in the Albuquerque area during World War II, where it trained bombardiers. Help this rare “hometown hero” honor the young bombardiers who trained in the southwestern desert before going overseas. Learn more about this aircraft.
7: L-17 Navion (South St. Paul, Minnesota) Liaison aircraft like this Navion played a crucial role in military conflict, but today it plays a central role as an after-school project for young students in the area. Significant funds are needed to keep this project on track and keep these students engaged. Learn more about this aircraft.
8: A-26 Invader (Enid, Oklahoma) The A-26 reflects many unique design innovations. Unfortunately, one of those features, the self-sealing fuel bladder, has grounded this aircraft. Until the fuel bladder can be removed and replaced, this authentic combat veteran won’t be able to fly. Learn more about this aircraft.
9: PT-19 Cornell (Olathe, Kansas) America’s heartland was the training home to many young aviators in World War II. This special PT-19 has been a demanding restoration, with more work being discovered as volunteers dive into the project. Learn more about this aircraft.
10: N3N (Reno, Nevada) Do you remember what first attracted you to aviation? For many Navy pilots the N3N would have been their first taste of flight during training. With hopes to continue this charge, once the aircraft is restored, volunteers plan to build an educational program centered around the N3N geared toward kids in the area. Learn more about this aircraft.
11: PBY Catalina (Duluth, Minnesota) PBY crews are among the U.S. military’s forgotten warriors. Hunting submarines, rescuing aircrews and sailors, supporting this restoration will ensure their stories are told. Learn more about this aircraft.
12: BT-13 Valiant (San Marcos, Texas). Once this restoration project is completed, this aircraft will help train CAF pilots. That’s right, CAF pilots, like the young World War II aviators did in the 1940s, must also start with a Basic Trainer like the BT-13. This ground up restoration still needs significant work and the clock is ticking to get more CAF pilots qualified to help ensure our fleet remains active. Learn more about this aircraft.