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Tue, Mar 17, 2009

Berlin Airlift Exhibit Opens At Museum Of Aviation

Commemorates 60th Anniversary Of Herculean Effort

The Museum of Aviation will host a traveling exhibit March 31 through May 6 commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift and paying tribute to US-German friendship.

"The Berlin Airlift – Legacy of Friendship" is coming to the Museum courtesy of the German Embassy, the Consulates Generals and the Honorary Consuls in the United States as part of their commemoration outreach activities all over the United States.

The Museum and the Museum of Aviation Foundation will host an opening reception at the Museum at 5:30 pm on March 31 and are asking the public to identify local veterans who were involved with the historic operation so they may be invited to the opening and recognized. Names of those involved should be called in to Carolyn Gesualdo at (478) 923-6600 or emailed to events@museumofaviation.org.

The Berlin Airlift was one of the defining events of the Cold War in which American and British cargo planes delivered over 2.3 million tons of supplies to the citizens of Berlin during a Soviet blockade of the city from June 1948 to May 1949. The blockade finally ended in May 1949, but the Berlin Airlift continued through September 1949.

During the fifteen-month operation United States C-47 and C-54 aircraft delivered 1,783,573 tons, while 541,937 tons were delivered by the RAF, totaling 2,326,406 tons of food and supplies on 278,228 total flights to Berlin. The C-47s and C-54s together flew over 92 million miles in the process, nearly the same distance as the earth is from the sun. At the height of the airlift, one plane reached West Berlin every 30 seconds.

The 464-day effort to supply a city's needs solely through the air demonstrated the resolve of democratic nations to oppose communist repression. The massive humanitarian effort was an early triumph for the young US Air Force and symbolized Western commitment to rebuilding democracy in Europe after World War II.

The Museum has examples of both types of aircraft used in the Berlin Airlift in its collection of nearly 90 aircraft. The C-47 is shown in the new World War II Exhibit Hangar and the C-54 is on display outdoors.

FMI: www.museumofaviation.org

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