“Privately owned Air Force”
It began with a single plane. Lloyd Nolen and a small group of ex-service pilots from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas pooled their money to purchase a P-51 Mustang in 1957. They formed a loosely defined organization to share the pleasure and expense of maintaining the Mustang.A short while later, the group added a pair of F8F Bearcats to the P-51 Mustang. At this point, the mission of the CAF became clear: save an example of every aircraft that flew during World War II ~ a mission no one else was undertaking.What started as a hobby became an urgent mission to preserve history. Collecting aircraft for nearly a half a century, the CAF now ranks as one of the largest air forces in the world. Today the CAF has approximately 9,000 members and a fleet of almost 160 airplanes representing more than 60 different types—including planes from several foreign countries and other military conflicts since World War II.The Headquarters of the CAF is located in Midland, Texas. We have members in every state and 28 foreign countries. In 26 states and four foreign countries, our members have joined together and formed units to foster camaraderie and, in many cases, actively support one or more of the classic military aircraft operated by the CAF.The year 1991 marked the beginning of a new era for the CAF with the opening of the new Midland, Texas, headquarters and museum facilities.
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