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CAU Honors Over 7,500 Fallen Heroes with Tribute Aircraft

California Aeronautical University (CAU) returns to air shows and other events to pay tribute and honor aviation with the tribute aircraft. 

As in years past, the University has been touring California and neighboring states to promote aviation awareness to the next generation. CAU teams up with crowd-thrilling aerobatic pilot Vicky Benzing and brings the crowd-favorite CAU Mobile Flight Experience to inspire youth about the excitement of aviation. The tribute aircraft will also join CAU in their outreach efforts this year.  


To honor our fallen military service members, the tribute aircraft is a Beechcraft Baron B55 with a patriotic paint job specifically designed to reflect the colors of and pay respect to the United States flag. The special design also contains the names of all military personnel who have given their lives in defense of our country since the 9/11 terrorist attack – over 7,500 names.  

The names are arranged on the Baron by chronological order of the fallen hero’s death using their last name, first name, and middle initial. Blank spaces have been reserved on the aircraft for periodic updates. 

“I was hesitant to look but was so glad I did,” said one air show attendee. “I found the names of two of my  friends I served with and was able to send a picture of their names to their parents.” 

Guests can observe the memorial aircraft on display, which also includes a directory of names that details where each name is located on the aircraft. 

“You never quite know what effect it will have on someone as they look for the name of their friend or family member,” said Tamu Smith-Kohls, VP of Enrollment and Marketing for CAU. “I am a  veteran myself and seeing the names so carefully and respectfully detailed on the aircraft brings up so many heartfelt emotions.”  

The CAU tribute aircraft will take flight as often as possible to give those all over the United States an opportunity to honor their veteran loved ones in a special way. CAU is working diligently to have current names of those who gave their lives displayed on the aircraft. 

tribute aircraft Air show

About California Aeronautical University

California Aeronautical University (CAU) is preparing the next generation of aviation professionals. Serving students from all over the country, the University offers career-focused programs in aviation, aviation business, and aircraft maintenance. With on-airport locations throughout California and in Arizona that provide an ideal learning environment, CAU courses are delivered in a year-round, fast-paced schedule that enables students to enter the pipeline for aviation careers in a shorter amount of time. 

Through the University’s strong partnerships with airlines, influential aviation organizations, and leaders in the aviation community, CAU graduates become a part of a larger aviation network and reap the benefits of these relationships, including direct access to several airline cadet programs. The University offers access to federal student financial aid, tuition reduction programs, and veteran educational benefits to those who qualify. 

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