Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 7:58 EDT

Rare P-51C Mustang and RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit Honoring Tuskegee Airmen to Appear at the Carolinas Aviation Museum

March 27, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The Carolinas Aviation Museum at Charlotte Douglas International Airport will host the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Red Tail Squadron’s RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit and P51-C Mustang honoring the Tuskegee Airmen April 11-14.

Sponsored by Duke Energy, the Traveling Exhibit and Mustang will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, through Friday, April 13, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at Carolinas Aviation Museum. While there is no charge to experience the Traveling Exhibit, there is a fee for museum admittance. For this event, however, the museum has waived that fee for those 18 and younger.

The Tuskegee Airmen, sometimes known as “Red Tails,” were the first black fighter pilots to serve in the U.S. Army Air Corps (now U.S. Air Force) in World War II. They painted the tails of their fighters red. After seeing the Airmen’s bravery and skill, bomber pilots began requesting the “red tail angels” as escorts to protect their “big heavies” from German fighters.

The Airmen flew more than 15,000 combat sorties and earned hundreds of medals and designations, including the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 in honor of their military service to the United States.

The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit is a customized 53-foot trailer with expandable sides that houses a 160-degree curved movie screen and seating for 30 in a climate-controlled theater. It is a key part of an educational initiative to help visitors understand and appreciate the history and legacy of this special group of black pilots.

An original movie called “Rise Above” focuses on what the Tuskegee Airmen and their support personnel overcame to fly and fight for their country during World War II. It also features some great flying footage involving the P-51C Mustang.

“The Carolinas Aviation Museum is proud to be able to bring this exhibit to the people of Charlotte,” said Shawn Dorsch, president, Carolinas Aviation Museum. “I have no doubt this exhibit will inspire young people in our community to set their sights higher and be more successful in life.”

“Duke Energy is sponsoring this unique educational outreach program because it encourages ‘rising above’ all challenges,” said Richard “Stick” Williams, president of the Duke Energy Foundation. “Courage…Diversity…Perseverance are prominent themes in the Tuskegee Airmen community educational program, along with the importance of studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

“The Tuskegee Airmen are shining examples of what can be accomplished with a solid STEM education.”

The Traveling Exhibit will be accompanied by a rare red-tailed WWII P-51C Mustang fighter like the ones flown by the Tuskegee Airmen. The Mustang, named Tuskegee Airmen, is scheduled to be on display April 11 until April 18, but that is subject to weather and other factors.

In addition to the traveling exhibition, the museum will raffle off a once in a lifetime 30-minute backseat ride in the P-51C Mustang. The ride is a 30-minute thrill transporting you back to the dogfighting days of WWII, feeling and hearing the sounds of the roaring Rolls Royce engine as you fly over Charlotte. For more information on how to purchase your raffle ticket, visit the museum’s website at www.carolinasaviation.org.

The CAF Red Tail Squadron, a volunteer-driven non-profit organization that is part of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), completed a second $1 million restoration of the Mustang Tuskegee Airmen — in 2009. The plane has been on the air show circuit ever since. At each stop, its pilots and crew relate the story of the Tuskegee Airmen and the thousands of other black men and women who supported them.

Visitors are spellbound as they hear how, after training at the segregated base in Tuskegee, Ala., the black pilots and their crews were deployed first to Africa and then to Italy, where they distinguished themselves as military aviators. With determination and skill, they proved that black men had the courage and intelligence to fly and fight effectively against the Axis powers, particularly the Germans.

Click here for photos of the Tuskegee Airmen and P51 Mustang. Please attribute photos to: Courtesy CAF Red Tail Squadron http://gallery.me.com/maxhaynes#104157

About the Carolinas Aviation Museum
Located at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the Carolinas Aviation Museum’s mission is to educate the public on the importance of aviation and inspire the next generation to excel academically in the areas of math, science, and history through the preservation of our aviation heritage. The museum has been collecting and restoring vintage historical aircraft for more than 20 years, and is the largest aviation museum between Washington, D.C., and Robbins, Ga. The museum is a non-profit educational institution. For more information, visit www.carolinasaviation.org or call (704) 997-3770. Follow the museum on Twitter at @CarolinAirMusem

About Duke Energy
Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., its regulated utility operations serve 4 million electric customers in the Carolinas, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and a half-million natural gas customers in Ohio and Kentucky. Its Commercial Power and International Energy business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States. More information is available at: www.duke-energy.com.


Carolinas Aviation Museum Website:www.carolinasaviation.org
Contact: Shawn Dorsch
Phone: 704-906-8277
Email: media@carolinasaviaitonl.org

(CAF) Red Tail Squadron Website: http://www.redtail.org/
Contact: LaVone Kay
Phone: 888-928-0188

Duke Energy Website: http://www.duke-energy.com
Contact: Tom Shiel
Phone: 704-382-2355

SOURCE Duke Energy

Source: PR Newswire