Dallas Executive Airport Woos the Former "Confederate Air Force" to Southern Dallas

Thumbnail image for commemorativeairforceB29_overnightingwiki.jpg
NASA
A Commemorative Air Force B-29, coming soon to an airport very near you.
Dallas has a funny way of easing neighbors' concerns about the Dallas Executive Airport. Just as nearby homeowners have worked themselves up into a minor frenzy because City Hall has kept them in the dark about a runway extension to accommodate heavier and louder aircraft, the city surprises them with news that DEA will be permanent home to a large vintage air show.

More accurately, the city would have surprised them with the 10:30 press conference this morning, had they not gotten their hands on the embargoed press release announcing the relocation to DEA of the Commemorative Air Force, a Midland-based group that restores WWII-era aircraft and puts on a touring air show. CAF's arrival has been a topic of discussion on the Neighbors of DEA Facebook page since last week.

See also: Dallas Executive Airport's Neighbors Say The City's Been Tight-Lipped About Renovation Plans

Timing aside -- and the CAF move was in the works well before neighbors knew they should be outraged -- neighbors are greeting the announcement with a cautious shrug. They remain more concerned by City Hall's general lack of transparency regarding development at DEA than with the prospect of an occasional air show. (This is presumably why Midland-Odessa's CBS 7 turns to a Facebook post by serial commenter Wylie H to stress neighbors' opposition, apparently unaware that Wylie does not exist as a corporeal being.)

Raymond Crawford, the DEA neighbor/citizen activist who's been most outspoken on the airport, isn't overly concerned by the CAF. He is, however, quite amused that the city is spurring economic development in southern Dallas by inviting a group that, until 2002, was named the Confederate Air Force.

The Confederacy, which dissolved a half century before the airplane was invented, didn't have an Air Force, of course. The name was tongue-in-cheek, derived from the legend someone long ago painted on the fuselage of a P-51 as a joke. It stayed a joke (the patches on their flight jackets read "This is a CAF aviator. If found lost or unconscious, please hide him from Yankees, revive him with mint julep and assist him in returning to friendly territory.") until the organization decided that neither the public nor potential donors appreciated the joke.

See also: Dallas Executive's Neighbors Say City Hall Broke Federal Rules in Airport-Expansion Push

The city and CAF have been mum on details (including what economic incentives are on the table), saying only that the move will include the group's headquarters and corporate offices, a "major new visitor attraction," and, since DEA will become CAF's new national airbase, at least a portion of the group's fleet of 160 or so old war planes.

It's no doubt a significant coup for the long-beleaguered DEA. According to Dallas CIty Councilman Tennell Atkins, it will also be an economic boon to the area, who told The Dallas Morning News it will create "more restaurants, more hotels and more action."

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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37 comments
s.aten
s.aten

What the city forgot to tell the people, the CAF is losing money over 1 million dollars in 2012 per their tax return.  The president got $296,000 in 2012 approximately the same salary is Mary Suhm.  The only people moving to Dallas are the headquarters staff (maybe 6 people). The biggest impact will be loud noise in the neighborhoods surrounding the airport and traffic jams if any comes to see these antique planes flying or crashing since the newest planes are 70 years old.

NewsDog
NewsDog

Heard that a B-29 was flying around DEA with a fighter escort this evening. Anyone else see it?


I would like to see a CAF wing someplace local. Been to the Cavanaugh in Addison, Frontiers of Flight at Love Field, USS Lexington in Corpus Christie and Lone Star in Galveston. Can't get enough.    

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

Well, I think it will be neat to have two major collections of vintage aircraft in the D/FW area.

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

an elderly guy in the '90's named john worked as an auto  parts delivery guy. he was a colonel drivin' a big bomber in wwII. he new doolittle. drove an ol' brown chevy caprice. showed me some of his war medals. john said he was a member of confederate air force, drivin' ol' wwII stuff...said he drove one like the ones he used in the war. 

roo_ster
roo_ster

Sweet!  I loves me some WWII warbirds.

dingo
dingo

This significant coup ranks about 1/10th of a percent in relation to the significant coup Plano announced yesterday.



RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Ahhh yes, our own WylieH, the Phineas J. Whoopee of Dallas civic circles, with his cranial closet overflowing with insider knowledge, obscure facts and surprising insight.  Apparently, the fame of this imaginary Titan is too great for Dallas to bear, we had to export a small bit of it to Midland.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

Well, this will give me a reason down there. I love taking pictures of old aircraft.

WylieH
WylieH

Just to be clear, I wasn't presuming to speak for the neighborhood and claim they are opposed-- rather, I was pointing out lack of transparency associated with a move that could result in large events (25,000 -100,000 attendees) in a predominantly residential area. Also, that full time employment is projected at less than 10 people.

PTMoore
PTMoore

Do neighbors have any idea how noisy these old war birds are?

dc005
dc005

@Cliffhanger#3.  You left out the Cavanaugh Flight Museum at the Addison Airport.  Jim Cavanaugh's personal collection of vintage planes,  funded by him privately,  no tax dollars needed,  thank you very much!  Very much worth visiting.

160 old warplanes seems way too many,  unless they're counting the ones privately owned,  not on display,  and never in Dallas.

And,  idiotic statement worth noting,  as among the most idiotic of the week (runner up,  Vonciel Hill always takes first prize),     Tennell Atkins says it will also be an economic boon to the area, it will create "more restaurants,  more hotels,  and more action." The Love Field Flight Museum is far larger,  better developed,  a great place to visit.  Doubt seriously many people fly in just to see it.   On a nice weekend,  does he actually expect hotels to be so packed another couple hotels are needed?   Yeah,  probably ....

Place your bets,  what did us Taxpayers give them to help with the move?  Free hanger space,  free utilities,   a couple mil?  




TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@cliffhanger

Now if they can just get an SR-71...

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@dingo The Observer "reporting" on anything outside Dallas can only be on items that are: negative to the other areas, disparage republicans or involve denial of vaginal services.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@dingo

You mean Toyota, I assume.

Probably won't see anything about it here until someone can find the downside.

Wait, it's Plano.

WylieH
WylieH

@RTGolden1  I'm moving on to bigger, better places.  I'm heading to Midland Odessa.

Annonnymous
Annonnymous

"Down There"

Watch out for Vonciel when using those two words together!

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Tim.Covington

Crawling around in those old bombers makes you appreciate just how scary and hairy it must have been in flight.

kduble
kduble

@WylieH The reason there is little employment potential is because the planes are restored and maintained by volunteers. And who said anything about an air show? They'll be basing the planes here and flying them off to shows around the country each weekend. Our area probably has enough air shows now; I'm not even sure it would support another.

raymondmcrawford
raymondmcrawford

@WylieH and I as well. The lack of communication and constituent participation by Atkins and Hill is overwhelming compared to other areas like White Rock and Preston/NW Highway. The irony is pretty obvious.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@PTMoore  

Nothing quite like the sound of a B-29 taking off full rich, cowl flaps open, at max power at max takeoff weight.  For me it is the sound of music.

WylieH
WylieH

@dc005  According to Tennell Atkins, the CAF is going to receive an "eight figure" economic incentive from the City.  Rawlings also alluded to a massive package.  Nothing has been disclosed, however.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  Considering the Mayor of Dallas in an interview said Toyota wouldnt consider DISD, what is there to report.  Now if another Dallas BBQ joint opened in Plano, we'd hear about it. 


PS I think the mayor only pointed out the Toyota not coming bc of DISD as a pitch once again towards Home Rule

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  

What is amazing is to see an F-16 next to a B-17.  They are roughly the same size; and, then realize that 10 men got into the B-17.

WylieH
WylieH

@kduble @WylieH  The CAF has made it clear that one of their primary purposes of moving to Dallas is to increase air show attendance.  The Midland show attracts 25,000 visitors.... they are aiming for up to 100,000 per show in Dallas, and have stated their intent to hold three shows per year.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@tpfkap

I don't know which Korea-era jet it was at Addison, looked like an F86 type of design, but it was the loudest thing at the airport.

When that baby took off, the phone would dance off off my desk.

dingo
dingo

@ScottsMerkin @TheRuddSki 

what is there to report?

4000 jobs with 6 figure average salaries according to Forbes.

Can you say multiplier effect?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin

Didn't know that part.

DISD seems to be a bit of an Albatross for Dallas. Maybe they should just take a lesson from New Orleans - blow the levees so to speak, and start over.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@kduble @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul@TheRuddSki 

Actually, the B-17 is a tad larger, but not by much.  It is amazing to see the B-17 side by side with either the F-16 or F-18.  Note especially the crew sizes and max takeoff weights.

F-16 wingspan 32.8 ft

F-18 wingspan 40 ft

B-17 wingspan 103 ft 9 in


F-16 length 49.3 ft

F-18 length 56 ft

B-17 length 74 ft 4 in


F-16 height 16.7 ft

F-18 height 15 ft 4 in

B-17 height 19 ft 1 in


F-16 dry weight 20,300 lbs

F-18 dry weight 23,000 lbs

B-17 dry weight 36,650 lbs


F-16 max takeoff weight 48,000 lbs

F-18 max takeoff weight 51,900 lbs

B-17 max takeoff weight 64,000 lbs (overload rating, normal is 54,000 lbs)

F-16 payload + fuel  27,700 lbs

F-18 payload + fuel  28,900 lbs

B-17 payload + fuel  17,350 lbs (~2,000 lbs is crew)

F-16 wing area 300 ft^2 (160 lbs/ft^2)

F-18 wing area 400 ft^2 (93 lbs/ft^2)

B-17 wing area 1,420 ft^2 (38 lbs/ft^2)

F-16 max cruise 1,500+ mph at altitude

F-18 max cruise 1,190+ mph at 400FL

B-17 max cruise 287 mph (normal cruise 182 mph)


F-16 crew 1

F-18 crew 2

B-17 crew 10


Note that the F-16 and F-18 max flying weights are higher than the max takeoff weight but these are not published.


I'd say that yes the B-17 has a slight edge in size over the F-16 and F-18, but not by much.  Please note that the wing loadings of the F-16 and F-18 are 3 to 4 times that of the B-17, this accounts for the difference in wing area and resultant wingspan.  The last spec on crew size is what I find amazing.


hth


TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@tpfkap

Imagine crawling out into the wing space with the engines going. Ouch.

I worked for an outfit called Sport Flyers at Addison airport back in the 90's, and got to photograph the ongoing restoration of one of those old bombers out at Lockheed - I think it's at the Cavanaugh museum now. That's where I got to appreciate how limited the space was. You don't get that sense in the movies.

All the guys doing restoration were vets, all voluntary, great guys with some great stories.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@WylieH @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul@PTMoore 

It is hard to say as the tip speed of the props is what comes into play.

The B-25 will hurt your ears on takeoff, while the B-29 will rattle your ribcage.

One difference is that the B-25 has 2 X 14 cylinder engines at 1,700 HP ea and the B-29 has 4 X 18 cylinder engines at 2,200 HP ea.


However since these planes are not taking off fully loaded, the max power settings are not needed.


Sort of like what happens if the dragster only accelerates slowly up to 50 mph.  Yes it is noisy, but not what it could be.


Besides, imagine what it would be like with 100 B-29s or B-25s lined up for take off and then circling while the formation is assembled.


hth

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