The sound of a P-51 Mustang is hypnotic. There’s nothing like it. (If you want to hear it for yourself, download our iBook, Aim High – The Aircraft of the Tuskegee Airmen.) Our twice-resurrected P-51C, the Tuskegee Airmen, has an unmistakable purr that some would say resonates with the soul. It can elicit a tear to the eye and a flutter to the chest. It’s a beautifully restored vintage warbird, but in reality it is so much more.
Don Hinz had a vision that lives and breathes every day in this aircraft, a culmination of his life’s passion and work. Because of the continual efforts of the staff and volunteers of the CAF Red Tail Squadron, and the generous donations of our supporters and sponsors, we are able to fly this majestic and inspirational aircraft to sites all over the country and continue the work that he began when he founded our project. It is a treasure to be shared. We are constantly working to bring the Tuskegee Airmen and the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit to as many audiences as possible – a conduit to keep the inspirational legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen alive and well for generations to come, just as Don dreamed it to be all those years ago in a hangar in Minnesota. We honor him and his vision every leg of our journey.
To those who get the chance to see it – whether soaring above in an air show or on static display – our P-51C Mustang can act as a time machine of sorts. It’s been known to bring tears to the eyes of grown men – some fulfilling a childhood dream, some being transported back to the emotional vulnerability of their time in combat. To an aviation enthusiast it can be mesmerizing. To a child it can be the kind of eye opening, enthralling experience that just might set them on a path towards a different kind of future. For each individual who sees, hears or feels our aircraft, it is more than an airplane – it is a piece of living history that touches the heart.
So on this late summer day, in between a myriad of air shows and events, we take a step back to remember the impact our mission can have on individuals and communities, and give a hearty thanks to those who make it possible.
Our generous donors. Our dedicated fans. Our pilots and crew. Our staff members and volunteers. Everyone who has believed in our mission to bring the history of the Tuskegee Airmen to audiences everywhere, inspiring people of all ages to rise above obstacles they may face. Thank you for continuing to support the CAF Red Tail Squadron and giving us the opportunity to share our inspirational message – through this special and greatly adored aircraft – with young and old, near and far. RISE ABOVE!