CAF Fighting to Keep WWII War Bird

By Camaron Abundes  
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- The battle for ownership of a WWII/Korean War Era Fighter Aircraft is not playing out in the skies but in the courts. The CAF hopes to win a stay of judgement following a ruling in July that would force the Commemorative Air Force to turn over it's Twin Mustang F-82 to the United States Air Force Museum. CAF President/ CEO Stephan Brown says sending the plane to Dayton, Ohio might ground it forever.

"We don't want to send it back to the Air Force. We want to keep it under our control," Brown said, "Our fear is it goes back to Dayton they cut the wingspan and make it un-flyable and if we win the appeal it does us no good because the goal for the CAF is to get airplanes flying."

Brown says a district judge in Ohio didn't review the evidence properly and they are appealing the ruling.

He also says the director of the United States Air Force Museum doesn't want to see the plane fly for personal reasons.

"We have documents that show that there was a donation certificate by the Air Force," Brown said.

He says in 1968, two years after the donation certificate, the Air Force drafted a transfer certificate thus enabling the CAF to register the aircraft with the FAA.

"It was a clear title for 30 plus years now," Brown said.

Brown says the appeal process may take up to a year and they don't want to wait and see what happens to the plane.

"I don't expect the Air Force Museum to display this plane, they already have one," Brown said.

The 25,591 pound plane flew with the Commemorative Air Force fleet for nearly 20 years before an accident in 1986 grounded it.

"The CAF is about honoring the American Military Aviation. We do that through flying the airplanes," Brown said, "This gives us an opportunity to take something that was a part of our history and take it out of the museum where it's essentially dead and bring it back to life."

NewsWest 9 could not reach the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton for comment.