Warbirds in Review

Every hour on the hour throughout the WWII Airpower Expo 2016, a warbird or WWII vehicle will be the focus of a historical presentation by a moderator, historian, or pilot. The vehicles will then perform ground maneuvers and the planes will take to the air and make low passes in front of the crowd. The new showcase format promises a rich historical experience followed by a thrilling demonstration.

Spotlight on "The Flying Tigers"

Commanded by Claire Lee Chennault—whose early life was spent in Louisiana—The Flying Tigers were a storied group of US volunteers contracted to the Chinese air force who became known for daring maneuvers and a high level of combat success against the Japanese air force. The unit’s P-40 Warhawk aircraft were instantly recognizable by their iconic shark-face paint motif. Up to four P-40s will be the focus of a 2:00 p.m. Flying Tigers Showcase every day of the Expo.

Showcases Schedule

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Stuart Tank and M3 Half-track

World War II was not fought in the air alone, so WWII AirPower Expo 2016 will feature an M3A1 Stuart tank and an M3 half-track. Visitors will be able to see these vehicles operate as a curator describes not only the vehicles but also the jobs and weapons of the men who served in their crews. In addition, the roles of the armored and infantry forces will be presented in the context of the larger combined arms team. Don’t miss this opportunity to see these vehicles operate and hear their engines roar.

Atomic Mission

This showcase will feature FIFI, one of two airworthy B-29 Superfortresses left in the world. On August 6, 1945, the B-29 Enola Gay changed the world when it ushered in the atomic era. The B-29 had several unique features that made it the most sophisticated aircraft in the world at the time. B-29/B-24 Squadron General Manager Brad Pilgrim, a US Air Force veteran and overall FIFI fanatic, will detail the history of this national treasure. At the conclusion of the presentation, FIFI will start her engines, take off, and fly over the crowd. This presentation honors all who served on B-29s and the dedicated ground crews who took care of them.

Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary

This showcase will feature three Japanese replica aircraft from the Commemorative Air Force’s Tora Squadron—the Tora Val, Tora Kate, and Tora Zero. These planes tell the story of the most devastating surprise attack in American history. December 7, 1941, launched us into World War II and awoke America’s industrial might. As these replica aircraft—as seen in the 1970 movie Tora! Tora! Tora!—tell the story of that day of infamy, watch for their formation as it moves over the show site and over the city of New Orleans.

Flying Tigers Showcase

The feature showcase of the WWII AirPower Expo 2016 will see up to four P-40 Warhawk aircraft take their place on the ramp for their presentation. Commanded by Claire Chennault—whose early life was spent in Louisiana—The Flying Tigers were a storied group of US volunteers contracted to the Chinese air force before American engagement in the war. They were known for daring dive maneuvers, the strategic savvy of Chennault, innovative communication and intelligence methods, and a high level of success, and were instantly recognizable by the iconic shark-face paint motif on their P-40 fighter planes. Come see these gorgeous examples of the P-40 on the ramp, learn about their contribution to American air power, and see them fly in formation over the show.

Doolittle Raid

A B-25 Mitchell bomber will tell the story of one of the most dangerous and daring missions attempted during World War II. On April 18, 1942, 16 Army Air Corps B-25 bombers took off from the deck of the USS Hornet to bomb industrial targets in Japan. Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James “Jimmy” Doolittle, the raid proved a massive morale boost for Americans at a time when the war’s outcome was far from certain. Upon conclusion of the presentation, a B-25 will fire up, take off, and do several low passes in formation in front of the crowd.

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Navy Carrier Operations Showcase

The attack on Pearl Harbor signaled the end of the battleship as the supreme weapon on the high seas. To defeat the Japanese and to combat the submarine threat in the Atlantic, many aircraft carriers had to be built, as well as planes designed to operate on them. This showcase will highlight the role of US Navy carrier operations during World War II by highlighting the F4U Corsair and the SBD Dauntless. These rare warbirds will taxi out with their wings folded as if they were on a carrier. After taking off, the aircraft will then circle back to “buzz the ship!”

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Mustang Fighters

The P-51 Mustang is most famous for turning the tide of the air war over Europe. With new drop tanks and extended range, the P-51 provided the ability for the Allies to engage in long-range bomber-escort missions deep into the heart of Germany. The P-51 also allowed for fighter superiority and was key to the Allied strategy to lure the Luftwaffe into the open. P-51s Gunfighter and Charlotte's Chariot will take to the skies over Lakefront Airport.


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