EAA: Red Tail Project Recognizes Two New Donors

AirVenture 2006 is a week set aside for aviation enthusiasts to think and talk about airplanes and be treated to many special events related to airplanes and aviation history. One of these special events was the presentation by The Red Tail Project of limited-edition lithograph prints to Aviation Technology Group (ATG), and Bendrix Bailey, a life-long aviation enthusiast. This presentation, which recognized their generous support of the Red Tail Project, took place at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25 at AirVenture 2006 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Doug Rozendaal, Coordinator of the Red Tail Project and Tim Barzen, its Media Relations Coordinator, made the presentation on behalf of the Red Tail Project in the ATG exhibit area in front of the mock up of ATG's Javelin Jet.

Based at Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colorado, ATG harnesses the synergies of emerging technologies into the design, development, and production of the Javelin. The Javelin prototype took flight on September 30, 2005. FAA certification and first deliveries of the Javelin are projected for 2008.

Ben Bailey, an entrepreneur, private pilot, and Javelin investor, has personally spearheaded some major fundraising for the project. A pilot for 23 years, Bailey's support of the Red Tail Project is based on the idea that the perseverance and achievements of the Tuskegee Airmen need to be more widely recognized and supported by the American people in general, and aviation enthusiasts in particular.

The Red Tail Project honors the history and accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen, African American fighter pilots who faced harsh racial discrimination on the ground and Axis pilots in the air during WWII. The Airmen flew P-51 Mustangs with distinctive red tails and, when the war ended, they owned another distinction: they never lost a bomber under their protection. The Red Tail Project's mission is to bring the story of the Tuskegee Airmen to every classroom in America through an aviation education program and the restoration of a P-51C Mustang as a symbol of their contribution and service to our country.

The Red Tail Project has taken on a major challenge in the spirit of the Tuskegee Airmen: Restore a rare World War II-era fighter that was nearly destroyed in an accident in 2004. This historic aircraft is the keystone of the Red Tail Project's focus on telling the Tuskegee Airmen's story to as many people as possible at airshows and on the ground. In addition to restoring the airplane, the project has also committed to completing a state-of-the-art mobile exhibition trailer which will be able to go where the airplane can’t -- school classrooms, sporting events, malls and other venues. This "museum without walls" will be another effective way to tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, particularly to school children.

Since May 29, 2004 when the rare P-51C Mustang "Tuskegee Airmen" was severely damaged in an accident, the Red Tail Project has raised more than $388,000 of the $2 million required to repair the aircraft and start the mobile educational program.

The Mustang, one of only a handful of P-51C models in existence, appeared several times at AirVenture. It was, and will be again, an incredibly effective tool at drawing crowds and giving spectators an initial introduction to the remarkable story of the Tuskegee Airmen. In the four years that the "Tuskegee Airmen" flew, the aircraft generated an estimated 40 million exposures to the story of America's first African-American fighter pilots.

For more information about the Red Tail Project, please see their website: www.redtail.org or contact LaVone Weer (info@redtail.org). The Red Tail Project is part of the Minnesota Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.