News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

October 5, 2012

Historic WWII warbirds visiting Terre Haute International Airport this weekend

B-25 scheduled to arrive today

TERRE HAUTE — Aviation enthusiasts can follow the sound of rumbling propellers off into the sky this weekend.

A flock of historic aircraft began flying into the Terre Haute International Airport on Thursday for what organizers plan to be a weekend extravaganza. Hosted by Hoosier Aviation, LLC, the airport open house will feature the B-25 “Show Me” as well as a Red Tails exhibit, and a visit with Indiana State University alumnus Quentin Smith, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen at 5:15 p.m. today.

Also, Jordan and Nicole Brown, owners of Hoosier Aviation, LLC., had their own aircraft out Thursday for show as the open house got underway.

“It should be an eventful weekend,” Nicole said at noon, explaining Jordan was off the premises with the B-25, which belongs to the Missouri Wing of the Commemorative Air Force. That plane, made famous in the Doolittle Raid of World War II, will perform a fly-over at ISU’s Homecoming football game Saturday.

Meanwhile, their C-45H rested next to the CAF’s P-51C Mustang which served as a trainer for the Tuskegee Airmen. Polished to a high sheen, the lettering on its side explained it to be a U.S. Army Air Corps Twin Beech C-45H, originally delivered for service in January of 1942.

“It takes 20 hours to polish it,” she laughed, explaining its maintenance to one of several admirers.

The couple first saw it while visiting a museum on their 10th wedding anniversary, and the decision to buy it was made then and there, she said, adding it’s one of her favorites.

Terry Hollis, spokesman for the CAF, said the group participates in more than 50 shows a year. The group works to keep historic aircraft up in the air and on display for the public as long as they last. The P-51C Mustang on display is a rarity, he said.

“There’s only two of these still flying in the United States and we’re quite fortunate to have one,” he noted, explaining the military left most of the aircraft overseas after the war.

The open house operates through Saturday and food will be available. For a tax-deductible sponsorship of $395, visitors can ride in the B-25 and relive the flight of a World War II bombing run. More information is available by e-mailing Nicole@hoosieraviation.com.

The CAF Red Tail Squadron will also present an educational movie inside its trailer every half hour, explaining the history behind the Tuskegee Airmen and their mission as part of their “Rise Above” exhibit. Saturday will also feature a “Bomb Drop On Cancer,” with proceeds going toward the Union Hospital Hux Cancer Center. Participants will be flown up into the air and allowed to drop a flour sack at a ground target. Prizes for best, second best and worst bombardiers will be awarded.

Aircraft owners throughout the area are expected to fly in for the event, Nicole said.

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett proclaimed the weekend to be “Hoosier Aviation CAF Rise Above Aviation Days,” and said it’s great to see activity at the airport.

“There’s unlimited potential out here,” he said.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@tribstar.com.

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