Warbirds at Culpeper July 3 and 4

Warbird ShowcaseThe Capital Wing of the Commemorative Air Force is bringing its WWII Warbird Showcase to its home base at the Culpeper Regional Airport on July 3 and 4.

To celebrate Independence Day weekend, the Capital Wing has expanded its Warbird Showcase event by adding two additional WWII aircraft giving rides, providing several warbirds on static display and setting up an extensive WWII Army encampment with reenactors in period uniform.

Warbird rides will be available in five vintage WWII aircraft. A TBM Avenger torpedo bomber, a Boeing PT-17 Stearman bi-plane and a Stinson L-5 Sentinel liaison airplane.

For this special Independence Day weekend event the Capital Wing has added rides in a WWII North American T-6/SNJ used to train fighter pilots and a Fairchild PT-19 Cornell primary trainer.

Rides in any of these aircraft may be purchased in advance at www.capitalwingwarbirdrides.org.

Flights not sold out in advance will be available for purchase on-site the day of the event.

The Warbird Showcase has free parking and there is no entry fee, although a donation to the all-volunteer non-profit Capital Wing is appreciated. Lunch will be available from the Order Up! food truck at their usual prices.

“Warbird rides are an opportunity for the public to sit in the same seats as did the crew of our aircraft in WWII. And feel the same power of the engines at take-off just as they did. And smell the same smells they did,” said Pete Ballard, Warbird Rides Coordinator for the Capital Wing. “Providing these warbird rides is a part of the CAF mission to honor the thousands of men and women who built, serviced and piloted these vintage WWII aircraft,” he said.

For those who prefer to stay on the ground, there will be several warbirds that can be examined up close up including another North American T-6, a British Percival Provost, and a T-28 trainer that was also successfully employed as a counter-insurgency aircraft, primarily during the Vietnam War.

In addition, there will be a pristine 1951 US Coast Guard jeep on display and visitors can walk thru an extensive US Army encampment as it might have looked in WWII.

Pilots and non-pilots who want to experience what it might have been like to fly a WWII mission in the TBM Avenger, the CAF Capital Wing is offering a “Torpedo Mission” experience, which is a total immersion back in time to 1944 and includes a mission profile briefing by the pilot, aeronautical maps of the flight area, a flight suit for the duration of the flight, and an extensive pre-flight of the aircraft just as it was done in WWII.

This is probably as close to performing a ‘torpedo run’ as one can get. The ‘Avenger,’ the largest and heaviest single-engine bomber of WWII, is the exact same type aircraft President George H.W. Bush flew as a Naval Aviator off the decks of USS San Jacinto (CVL-30), assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT-51) and (VT-153).

CAF Capital Wing aircraft rides sell out quickly, so it is recommended those interested purchase early.

For frequently asked questions regarding flight requirements, check-in times, cancellations and changes, contact the Warbird Rides Coordinator, Pete Ballard, at capitalwingcaf@gmail.com or (540) 450-5992.

The Culpeper Regional Airport is located on Beverly Ford Road, Rts 15/29, Elkwood.

The Capital Wing and the Commemorative Air Force are non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations and ticket purchases may be tax deductible.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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