The 1941 Historical Aircraft Group is seeking to raise $250,000 so that it may fly this C-47 plane to France to participate in the 70th anniversary of D-Day commemoration in 2014.
Annette Koolsbergen Photo
Fundraising campaigns take flight at aircraft museum
Despite the winter weather, activity at the 1941 Historical Aircraft Group Museum in Geneseo is in full swing with a pair of fundraising campaign, including one that seeks to raise $2 million for a new hanger.
The Museum is also developing a second campaign to help get one of its planes to France for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.
The campaign, called “Operation High Flight,” has several key objectives. Money would be used to build a new hangar for displays, begin restoring a B-23 Dragon and complete the current display facility, which is in the process of being restored.
Museum officials are also beginning preparations for this year’s “Greatest Show on Turf” airshow.
The B-23, which was originally purchased in Midland, Texas, was disassembled and trucked back to Geneseo. The pieces sit in the large hangar awaiting money to begin restoration.
Thus far, the fundraiser has raised a good amount of money. Volunteer Austin Hancock hopes the project will really take off in the spring.
The second fundraiser, currently still in development, is centered on the museum’s D-Day veteran. The C-47, also known as “Whiskey 7,” was one of the lead aircraft in the first strike of the D-Day invasion.
Since 2014 will be the 70th anniversary of D-Day, museum officials are hoping to raise $250,000 to bring the plane back to France. Of the $250,000, about $100,000 will be necessary to cover fuel costs.
To reach the goal, 1941 HAG officials are looking to other sources of funding — and not solely upon their volunteers. “We don’t want to drain our members,” Hancock said.
The fundraiser will reach out to a variety of corporations, including BP Aviation, which was responsible for providing aviation fuel during World War II. Since the corporation is proud of their heritage, 1941 HAG officials hope they would be willing to donate fuel for the mission.
Along with attracting corporations to this project, Hancock is using the same fundraising website www.indiegogo.com that raised money for a Greece school bus monitor who was bullied by students.
To make this project a success, officials also hope to collaborate with the 82nd Airborne and the Liberty Jump Team, which have appeared at recent airshows. The Liberty Jump Team would re-enact a World War II parachute jump.
To raise additional funds, museum officials are planning to have a raffle for one or two spots on the trip to Normandy.
Museum officials are in the process of creating a video to help kick off the fundraiser. The pilot, who is responsible for flying the C-47, flies 767s for United Airways. In the video, he will speak about the difference between a C-47 and a 767. The video will feature the crew working on the plane.
In addition to undertaking two major fundraisers, museum officials have already begun preparations for this year’s airshow. Planning meetings were Jan. 9 and Feb. 13.
Museum officials are hoping to improve upon last year’s show — which saw its four biggest acts cancel at the last minute.
This year, officials hope to have a de Havilland Mosquito as one of their feature aircraft. The Mosquito was a British fighter bomber in World War II. The plane, which is based in Virginia, is the only one of its type flying having taken its first flight just weeks ago.
The museum is also planning to bring more technology to the 2013 airshow. Hancock is planning to develop a mobile app for the museum, with a sub-app for the airshow. The app would work like a virtual tour guide.
The app would also direct people to websites for additional information relating to each display, and announce news or airshow cancellations, among other offerings.
For more information on the museum’s projects and fundraisers, visit the 1941 Historical Aircraft Group Museum website at www.1941hag.org .