AF Academy Class Gets Flyover Thanks to Nonprofits

They haven't seen combat in generations.

Their propellers lack the punch of the jets that propel F-16 Fighting Falcons.

But nine planes that flew before the Air Force Academy's inception will nevertheless help celebrate its latest class of graduates.

Two nonprofit organizations pledged on Wednesday to provide a flyover for the academy's graduation May 29 -- filling a void created when the Air Force pulled its normal aerial demonstration team, the Air Force Thunderbirds.

The Thunderbirds -- a staple of the annual ceremony -- canceled flyovers across the nation this year when a series of automatic budget cuts known as sequestration took effect March 1.

In their absence, the National Museum of World War II Aviation in Colorado Springs and the Texas Flying Legends Museum of Houston plan to offer nine World War II-era planes to fly above the Air Force's newest second lieutenants.

Included will be: two B-25J Mitchell bombers, two P-51D Mustang fighters, a P47D Thunderbolt fighter, a FG1D Corsair fighter, a P-40K Warhawk fighter, a FM2 Wildcat fighter and a TBM-3E Avenger bomber.

The aircraft will be on display at the National Museum of World War II Aviation, from May 27 through May 29.

'We just felt it was a fitting, a very fitting, fitting tribute, ' said John Henry, a spokesman for the museum.

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