After more than 20 years of operations in Midland, Texas, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) announced Wednesday at EAA AirVenture 2013 it has selected eight finalists for the new home of organization’s national headquarters and museum facilities.
Six of the finalists are located in Texas: Alliance Airport, Fort Worth; Collin County Airport, McKinney; Dallas Executive Airport; Ellington Field Airport, Houston; Lackland/Kelly Airport, San Antonio; and North Texas Regional Airport, Sherman. The other contenders are New Century Airport, Olathe, Kan; and Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport, Smyrna, Tenn.
While the list is heavy with Texas airfields, including four within an hour’s drive of DFW International Airport, CAF president and CEO Stephan Brown noted, “Each of these eight locations has the potential to help propel the Commemorative Air Force to a higher plane of awareness and national impact.”
The organization announced its search for a new headquarters location in May. CAF membership will vote on the selections at the organization’s annual membership meeting in October, with a three-fourths approval needed for a location to advance to the next stage of the selection process.
CAF also noted the new headquarters location will include “a year-round aviation attraction…and be a base of operations for some of the CAF’s most significant flying vintage military aircraft,” possibly indicating that the organization also plans to eventually relocate all or part of its American Airpower Heritage Museum, currently at Midland International Airport, to the new location.
The final eight cities were selected from a list of 23 sites that initially expressed interest in attracting CAF to their cities and airports. CAF’s criteria for the new location included access to a major general aviation reliever airport with little commercial activity, and at least one runway 7,000 feet by 150 feet or greater; 150 to 200 acres of land available to support CAF facilities and functions, including a “significant” fly-in or airshow; a large pool of potential visitors and members; and open space around and above the airport.