Carolinas Aviation Museum lands Tuskegee Airmen exhibit

A rare World War II fighter will make an appearance in Charlotte in April along with an exhibit honoring the Tuskegee Airmen.

Duke Energy and the Carolinas Aviation Museum announced Tuesday that a restored P-51C, painted with the distinctive red tail of the renowned squadron, will accompany the April 11-14 exhibition, “Rise Above.”

Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American Army Air Corps unit, flew 15,000 combat sorties in World War II with distinction after overcoming racism and resistance from the military. It was the basis of a recent George Lucas-produced film, “Red Tails,” starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard.

A historic movie about the unit and artifacts from the era will be part of the exhibit, said Shawn Dorsch, president of the Carolinas Aviation Museum beside Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Duke Energy is sponsoring the exhibition as part of its support for the STEM program, which promotes studying science, technology, engineering and math. “This is a great example of how the airmen overcame issues, showing how much you can do by studying in school,” said Duke spokesman Tom Shiel.

“Rise Above” is among the latest high-profile exhibits at the aviation museum, which last year obtained the fuselage of Flight 1549, the “Miracle on the Hudson” jetliner that was bound for Charlotte when it splash-landed in the Hudson River. Drug Enforcement Administration aircraft were displayed at the museum last month, and a FedEx air cargo expo is in the planning stages, Dorsch said.