Plan ahead: The Capital Wing of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), in conjunction with the Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation, will start this year’s Warbird Showcase tour Saturday and Sunday, May 7 and 8, at the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport, bringing a host of classic planes and other attractions to the public.
The event is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, with no parking or entrance fees. Warbirds scheduled to appear include the B-25 Panchito, a Stinson L-5 Sentinel, a Fairchild UC-61 Forwarder, two Boeing PT-17 Stearman biplanes, and a North American SNJ/T-6.
The public will have the opportunity to purchase warbird rides in all the aircraft as a tribute to the thousands of men and women who built, serviced and flew them.
The full tour schedule and advance ticketing for any warbird are available online at https://www.capitalwingwarbirdrides.org/. Flight seats not sold in advance will be available for sale on-site at the Warbird Showcase.
Rides are priced to fit every budget and start at just $105 for a 20-minute flight experience in the Stinson L-5, organizers said.
Restored to almost pristine condition, the scheduled warbirds will be at the airport subject to pilot and aircraft availability, maintenance, weather and sufficient advance flight sales.
Warbird rides in any of these aircraft allow the public to sit in the same seats as did those of another generation 80 years ago. Many riders are overcome with emotion if their grandfathers or fathers flew in these same type of warbirds, organizers said.
As this event is on Mother’s Day weekend, the Warbird Showcase will provide a “Women and Girls Can Fly!” program, where the public can meet and greet the group’s three women pilots, one of whom flies the B-25 Panchito, one flies the Fairchild UC-61 and one is a student pilot. In addition, one of the female flight-school instructors at the Warbird Showcase has been flying since 1999.
“The goal of this special Warbird Showcase program is to demonstrate that women and girls can learn to fly not only general-aviation airplanes, but WWII warbirds as well,” organizers said.
There will be other attractions for the entire family:
• Two flight schools will have static airplanes on display with flight instructors to answer questions.
• There will be an authentic WWII encampment set up by local re-enactors along with military vehicles including a very unique Jeep.
• The Capital Wing will have a B-26 top .50-caliber machine gun turret on-site (yes, the kids can climb inside it) as well as its “PX” (Post eXchange) trailer selling warbird-related items.
• Finally, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) will have a food truck on-site so the public does not need to leave to have lunch.
For those who want to see what it’s like inside the Capital Wing hangar (the skeleton of a Vultee BT-13 without its engine and maintenance on the TBM Avenger torpedo bomber), there will be a low-key “meet and greet” event at the Culpeper Regional Airport on Saturday, April 23, starting at 10:30 a.m. Warbird Rides in the Stinson L-5 and PT-17 Stearman will be available.
The Capital Wing and Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation are both non-profit organizations and are staffed entirely by volunteers. For more information, e-mail CapitalWingRides@gmail.com or see the Website at delawareaviationmuseum.org.