JAMESTOWN, N.Y. — The Wings of Freedom Tour is set to touch down at Jamestown Airport on Monday and remain there until Thursday.
The unique tour, which is almost a traveling museum squadron, includes a World War II Vintage Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, a Consolidated B-24 Liberator, a B-25 Mitchell, a North American P-51 Mustang and Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, all of which are scheduled to land at noon on Monday.
According to officials from the Collings Foundation, “The Wings Of Freedom Tour travels the nation as a flying tribute to the flight crews who flew them, the ground crews who maintained them, the workers who built them, the soldiers, sailors and airmen they helped protect; and the citizens and families that share the freedom that they helped preserve.
“The B-17, B-25 & B-24 were the backbone of the American effort during the war from 1942 to 1945 and were famous for their ability to sustain damage and still accomplish the mission. Despite the risks of anti-aircraft fire, attacking enemy fighters, and the harrowing environment of sub-zero temperatures, many B-17s and B-24s safely brought their crews home. The P-51 Mustang was affectionately known as the bombers ‘Little Friend’ — saving countless crews from attacking axis fighters,” the foundation’s press release said.
The B-24J is the sole remaining example of its type flying in the world, while the B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine” is one of nine of these particular planes still in flying condition in the U.S., and the B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft,” B-25 Mitchell “Tondelayo” bombers, P-51 Mustang “Toulouse Nuts” and P-40 Warhawk “Jaws” fighters all represent various elements of our flying fighters in years gone by.
Visitors can not only look at these planes up close, but they can actually climb inside and get an idea of what it was like to travel in these planes.
“After the war, many aircraft were scrapped for their raw aluminum to rebuild a nation in post-war prosperity and therefore very few were spared. The rarity of the B-17, B-25, B-24, P-40 & P-51 — and their importance to telling the story of World War II is why the Collings Foundation continues to fly and display the aircraft nationwide,” foundation officials write. “At each location we encourage local veterans and their families to visit and share their experiences and stories with the public. For aviation enthusiasts, the tour provides opportunity for the museum to come to the visitor and not the other way around!”
The Wings of Freedom Tour is organized by The Collings Foundation and will visit 110 cities throughout the course of the tour.
The Collings Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit educational foundation devoted to organizing “living history” events that allows people to learn more about their heritage and history through direct participation. The Nationwide Wings of Freedom Tour is celebrating its 30th year and visits an average of 110 cities in over 35 states annually. Since its start, tens of millions of people have seen the B-17, B-24, B-25, P-40 & P-51 display at locations everywhere. The Wings of Freedom tour is one of the most extraordinary and unique interactive traveling historical displays of its kind.
The cost for tours is $15 for adults and $5 for kids age 12 and under. Ground tours will be given from noon to 5 p.m. Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and 9:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday.
Visitors may also experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually take a 30-minute flight aboard these rare aircraft. Flights on either the B-17 or B-24 are $450 per person, while B-25 flights are $400 per person. For reservations and information on flight experiences call 800-568-8924. The 30-minute flight experiences are normally scheduled before and after the ground tour times.
The planes are expected to leave shortly after noon on Thursday, with Butler, Pa.’s Pittsburgh/Butler Regional Airport as their next destination.
Visitors can find out more by visiting our website at www.collingsfoundation.org.