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Big Bands and B-17s - a Sentimental Journey at the Commemorative Air Force Museum

Reserve your seat in a C-45 at the AZ Wing Commemorative Air Force
Reserve your seat in a C-45 at the AZ Wing Commemorative Air Force
Az CAF photo

What if there was an airport where all destinations were  in the past? If that sounds like an old episode of Twilight Zone, you haven't yet visited he Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force in Mesa!

The above is both literally and figuratively true. As you step in their lobby, Glenn Miller music floats in the air and to all sides is WWII memorabilia - hinting at what's in store. What that turns out to be is over 30,000 feet of antique & vintage planes from WWI bi-planes, looking like soap box derby racers with wings and machine guns, to Korean and Vietnam era fighter jets.

The CAF is considered one of the finest air museums in the world, literally traveling it to obtain and restore military aircraft to their prime. Names like the C-45 Transport, Phantoms, Invaders, P-47 Thunderbolts and the showcase B-17 "Sentimental Journey" are all familiar to the veterans who saw them scream overhead. Even those who have never heard the whir of a propeller outside of old movies can't help but picture themselves in a leather flight jacket, at the controls.

Best of all, for those that wish, the CAF offers actual flights!  Groups of up to four can climb in the hold of a WWII C-45 and be flown over the Superstition Mountains for only $295.00 for the entire group! Or if you wish a ride in a real Warbird, reserve the co-pilot's seat in the T-6 SNJ Fighter for $275.00 and the thrill of your life.

For those who prefer their feet on the ground, the CAF offers several special events.

Coming February 3rd is their Winter Visitor Expo with tours of the Museum and other exclusive exhibits. On Feb. 13th, mix the muscle of Mustangs with that of Jet engines for the Mustang Muscle Car Show.

And on March 20th is the much anticipated 40's Big Band Dance - a formal affair and the museums annual fundraiser with dining and dancing against the back drop of Swing music and Planes. Advance tickets are $35.00 ($ 40.00 at the door).  See if your old Dress Uniform needs letting out or go visiting the vintage stores for something snazzy!  It's a great evening and funds support the Museum.

The AZ Wing of the Commemorative Air Force is at Falcon Field, 2017 N. Greenfield Road in Mesa. Their hours are 10:00am - 4:00pm Monday thru Sunday with a $10.00 admission for Adults. The admission for children 5-12 is only $3.00 with those under 5 free and seniors 62 and older are discounted $1.00.

For information on flights, to reserve tickets for the 40's Big Band Dance or other information the Museum may be reached by calling 480-924-1940 or emailed at info@azcaf.org.

To view the planes on display or check out their event page visit www.azcaf.org.

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