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CAF Membership Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the history of the CAF ... ?
  2. How do I become a member ... ?
  3. Where do you meet ... ?
  4. Who we are ... ?
  5. Do I have to be a pilot to join ... ?
  6. If I join will I be allowed to fly ... ?
  7. How much does it cost to join ... ?
  8. Want to tour with the planes ... ?

What is the history of the CAF?

The origin of the CAF dates back to 1951, with the purchase of a surplus Curtiss P-40 Warhawk by Lloyd Nolen, a former World War II Army Air Corps flight instructor. In 1957, Nolen and four friends purchased a P-51 Mustang, each sharing in the $2,500 total cost of the aircraft. With the purchase of this Mustang, now known as Red Nose, began the group now known as the CAF.

Legend has it that upon arriving at the Mercedes airfield in deep south Texas one Sunday morning in 1957, the group found that someone had painted a sign on the fuselage of the P-51 as a joke. The sign read Confederate Air Force. All the pilots seemed pleased with the new name, saluted each other and decided it should stay.

In 1958, the group made their second purchase--two Grumman F8F Bearcats for $805 each. Along with the P-51, this gave them flying examples the two most advanced piston-engine fighters to see service with the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy in World War II.

In 1960, the CAF began to seriously search for other World War II aircraft, as it quickly became apparent that very few were still left in flying condition. The CAF Colonels were shocked to find that the very aircraft which played such a major role in winning World War II were being rapidly and systematically destroyed. No one, including the Air Force or Navy, were attempting to preserve even one of each type of these historic aircraft for display for future generations to see!

On September 6, 1961, the CAF was chartered as a non-profit Texas Corporation in order to restore and preserve World War II-era combat aircraft. By the end of the year, there were nine aircraft in the CAF fleet. Recently the CAF was renamed as the Commemorative Air Force.

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How do I become a member?

To become a member of the Capital Wing simply fill in the online application form, press the "Print Application" button, and mail it in with your check or payment information. Also feel free to stop by one of our monthly meetings to meet us.

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Where do you meet?

We alternate between dinner meetings on the first Monday of the month (unless it is a Federal Holiday) and meeting on the 2nd Saturday of the month at the hangar - check the Events Calendar for the time and place. During good weather, people are generally at the hangar on Saturdays visiting and working. See the Maps under How To Find Us for exact directions.

Both the public and prospective members are welcome. Come out and meet us and see the aircraft.

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Who we are.

We are members of the CAF - Capital Wing. We are a group of volunteers, many from Virginia, Maryland and DC, and who are dedicated to the goals of the CAF and to maintain our assigned aircraft in flying condition. We proudly volunteer time and energy to this endeavor.

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Do I have to be a pilot to join?

No. You do NOT have to be a pilot, mechanic, or a veteran to become a member of the CAF, or our Wing.

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If I join will I be allowed to fly?

Yes. Whether you are a pilot or not, you can become a crew member which will entitle you to fly. Of course flying is not the only part of being a member. There is maintenance and other activities involved in our operation.

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How much does it cost to join?

We appreciate having guests visit, see our unit, and what our mission is, as a CAF Wing. The cost of a membership in our local Wing is $50.00 per year. Within the first year, all new members must also become a member of the national organization. The national annual dues are $200.00.

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Want to tour with the planes?

All members are eligible to fly as part of the crew while the aircraft are on tour. 




Capital Wing
12499 Beverly Ford Road
Brandy Station, Virginia 22714
For more information call: 540-402-1818

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