The next year was spent refurbishing, painting and prepping the aircraft for FAA inspections and certification. In 2000 the plane received its required certifications and was operated and stored outside at a hangar at the Lawton Municipal Airport for the next five years.
In 2005 the team took over the remaining original hangers at Frederick Army Air Field in Frederick, Oklahoma which once served as a pilot training facility for bomber pilots.
The owner of the aircraft, Mr. Phillip Eakles of Holdenville, OK, liked what he saw taking shape in that McAlester back yard and offered his aircraft for the cost of fuel to help the team gain skill and hold more Jump School sessions. It was then, in 1998 that the team was officially organized with the State of Oklahoma as a not for profit Corporation.
It was also in 1998 that a West Point graduate stepped up and became the first President/Commander of the small team. With the leadership of Major Jim Rice, serving at Fort Sill at the time, the team enjoyed continued growth and began to establish a reputation of professionalism that continues to this day. The growing team was then beginning to pattern itself after the airborne demonstration teams that toured the country during the war. WWII uniforms were required as the uniform of the day and were worn during all jumps. This practice continues to this day.
As the team grew biannual Jump Schools were held, PX items such as T-shirts were marketed and paid appearances at airshows began to bring in much needed capital to finance the growth of the team and the infrastructure needed for it to continue.
Eventually the quest began to find an aircraft to purchase for Jump School training and for the team to practice and use at nearby airshows. In 1999 a C47 was located and two people entered the ADT program to help with the acquisition. Dr. Bruce O’Brian and Mr. Ray Cunningham agreed to sponsor the aircraft and the refurbishment needed for team use. The aircraft was delivered from Israel through Canada to Lawton, OK.
Today the World War II Airborne Demonstration Team serves as the premier civilian round canopy static line training center in the world. For 2017 ADT will be operating three, week long Jump Schools and is adding a new training program in 2018. The Excellent Infantry Training Badge training program will offer a new dimension to the overall experience of military style training for those that want to challenge themselves while keeping their feet on the ground.
As the premier training facility, ADT strives to have the best facilities and equipment available that include two operating WWII C47 aircraft, a fully operational WWII era hanger, extensive training facilities, a full Rigger shop, barracks and mess hall.
To fulfill the team mission to Remember, Honor and Serve, the team will participate in many events in the coming year to include Veteran reunions, Re-enactor events, museum and civic programs and will participate in five airshows in North America. In the developmental stage is a museum to honor the memory of the Airborne program and troopers and to preserve their legacy and history. Static displays will allow the visitor to see the earliest days of the Airborne concept up to the modern itineration of todays modern paratrooper.
HELP US KEEP THESE GREAT PLANES FLYING, THESE IMPORTANT SYMBOLS OF AMERICA'S WWII SACRIFICE ARE DISAPPEARING. ONLY WITH YOUR HELP AND DONATIONS WE CAN PRESERVE THESE HISTORICAL PLANES. HERE'S THE MANY WAYS YOU CAN HELP. DONATION PAGE
The building was leased from the city of Frederick and repairs began immediately as the buildings had fallen into disrepair over the years it sat vacant. Richard Wolf lived at the Frederick Army Air Field (FAAF) for the next two years cleaning, removing old machinery abandoned by previous tenants and building classrooms, barracks, mess hall and kitchen. Ray Cunningham and Mike Zozula were both at his side the entire time to take an historic building that was very near falling into irreversible disrepair and build it into an appropriate home for the team to continue their mission to Remember, Honor and Serve the WWII Veterans and all who have worn the uniform in service to our country.
The team continued to grow in number and in professionalism and built a reputation of being the premier WWII era military combat style, low altitude parachute team in the world. The team began in the early 2000’s to jump at more airshows and Veteran Reunions around the country and in Europe. In 2004 the team travelled to Europe three times to participate in jumps commemorating D-Day on 6 June, jumped in Holland for festivities honoring their liberation in September and back again at Christmas to make jumps in the Bastogne, Belgium area. Richard Wolf’s fledgling idea had solidly taken root by this time as the team was training more and more people and appearing at more venues and events.
In 2009, another aircraft appeared on the horizon as available for sale and the team made to move to purchase it.
After acquisition of the second aircraft, now known as Wild Cat, the plane sat in static display in the hangar at FAAF until such time that funds would be available to put it on line as and active member of the fleet for jumps and rides for the public.
In 2015 the plane was ferried to Tulsa, OK for the Tulsa based arm of the ADT Flight Crew to begin restoration. Extensive repairs have been made to the airframe and control surfaces and engines and the plane is now ready for FAA inspections and certification.