It’s important our children know that warbirds refer to vintage military aircraft, not angry birds equipped for battle.
The famous WWII fighters with the shark-faced nose art will be on display at Peachtree DeKalb Airport dur-ing Atlanta Warbird Weekend September 24-25. This iconic art of the Flying Tigers remains among the most rec-ognizable image of any individual combat aircraft or combat unit of World War II. While the fighters will not be displayed in the sky, they will be along the tarmac for an exclusive look into the history of America’s warbirds.
This year’s event is dedicated to the American Volunteers Group Flying Tigers 75th anniversary. To celebrate, the Commemorative Air Force Dixie Wing out of Peachtree City is hopes to bring over ten P-40s to create the larg-est gathering of Curtis P-40 Warhawk since WWII.
“In just 7 months of intense aerial combat,” says Atlanta Warbird Weekend chair Mo Aguiari, “the American Volunteers Group earned a lasting niche in aviation history.” Three of the surviving Flying Tigers will be present at the PDK reunion. The Flying Tigers were part of volunteer air units organized by the US to join the Chinese Air Force in fight-ing against Japan in the second Sino-Japanese War during World War II.
The first American Volunteer Group, the Flying Tigers were the only unit to actually see combat. The pilots Flying Tigers were recruited from the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps in 1941 and trained on 100 P-40s. After the Japa-nese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Flying Tigers entered combat and became famous in the defense of Burma and China.
Atlanta Warbird Weekend will also feature other famous aircraft such as a FG-1D Corsair, SBD-5 Dauntless dive bomber, T-6 Texan, C-46, Stearman bi-planes, Douglas DC-3 and more. Many will offer flights and cockpit tours. Guests will also have a chance to attend a WWII Eighth Air Force Fighter Mission Briefing, participate in a photogra-phy workshop and attend a dinner symposium with the Flying Tigers at the 57th Fighter Group restaurant on Saturday evening.
“This weekend is ‘hands-on history’ with flights in actual WWII fighters, bombers and trainers. Instead of re-citing dates from a history textbook, live it with reenactments, authors, cockpit tours and veterans,” said Aguiari.
Aguiari is coordinating the drive to raise funds to bring more P-40 aircraft to Atlanta Warbird Weekend events, and he is actively seeking sponsors and contributors. It’s perfect pitch for PDK to host, because that site was home to Naval Air Station Atlanta starting in 1940. To donate, call 877-767-7175.
The event is free, parking is $10.
– Dr. Paul Hudson, contributor Grace Simmons