Mica Marriott
Airplane enthusiasts will have the chance to fly high when the

An old war plane is on display at New Century AirCenter. Staff photo by Mica Marriott

Commemorative Air Force, KC Ghost Squadron’s Heart of America Wing open house and air show takes place July 17 and 18. The KC Ghost Squadron’s Heart of America Wing of the Commemorative Air Force is located on the northeast side of New Century Air Center between Gardner and Olathe.
The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) began with a single plane in 1957. Ex-service pilots from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas combined their money  to purchase a P-51 Mustang. Soonafter, the group purchased a pair of F8F Bearcats. Their mission soon became clear —  to collect and save an example of every aircraft that flew during World War II. It was mission to  preserve a part of history that no one else was trying to accomplish.
CAF has been collecting aircrafts for half a century now, and the CAF ranks as one of the largest air forces in the world. Currently, the CAF has approximately 9,000 members and a fleet of almost 160 airplanes including planes from several foreign countries and other military conflicts since WWII.
The headquarters CAF are located in Midland, Texas. In 26 states and four foreign countries, CAF members have joined to form units actively supporting one or more of the classic military aircrafts operated by the CAF.

Mannequins sport old Air Force uniforms at New Century AirCenter. The Heart of America Wing of the Commemorative Air Force will show off its vingtage aircraft and memorabilia this weekend during an open house. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday at New Century. Staff photo by Mica Marriott

The organization is dedicated to restoring and preserving airplanes to excellent flying condition including artifacts used by the United States Military from WWII. Their goal is to share the history with younger generations and to recognize America’s war heroes.
Eight founding members formed the Heart of America Wing of the Commemorative Air Force located at New Century Air Center 28 years ago on July 5, 1982.
“We just celebrated our birthday,” said Beth McCale, head of development.
Those original eight charter members are Col. Melvin Langston, Col. Kenneth Hurt, Col. L. Graham Chamblin, Col. John Allen, Col. J.R. Breed, Col. Marvin Andrews, Col. C.W. Kemper, and Col. Jack Frost. Currently, the local chapter has grown to more than 90 members.
Veterans and active duty military personnel will be  guests of honor at the Commemorative Air Force Heart of America Wing open house from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. This is the group’s 10th annual open house, which is free to the public.
Activities include displays of vintage military aircrafts, flying demonstrations, airplane rides for donations, military vehicles, veteran’s oral histories and also a kid’s hangar. Special presentations include President Harry S Truman and General Douglas MacArthur impersonators, along with the Bombshell Bettys, who emulate USO Girls. There will also be concessions with grilled hamburgers, hotdogs and soda to quench attendees’ hunger and thirst.
“We really have a great time every year, and we will have about 30 planes this year,” Jon Miller, HOA Wing Leader, said.
For more information visit www.KCGhost Squadron.org or call (913) 907-7902.
The CAF Heart of America Wing is located at No. 6 Aero Plaza in New Century.