Wings of Freedom Tour visits Tri-state next week
BULLHEAD CITY — The Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour will bring several World War II vintage aircraft to Laughlin/Bullhead City International Airport next week.
A B-17 Flying Fortress, a consolidated B-24 Liberator, a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, a North American B-25 Mitchell and a P-51 Mustang are expected to fly into LBCI — and overhead in the Tri-state — as part of the Collings Foundation’s tribute to the planes, the workers who built them, the crews who flew them, the ground crews who maintained them, the soldiers, sailors and airmen who they helped protect and the citizens and families who share the freedom that they helped preserve.
The B-17, B-25 and B-24 provided the backbone of the American effort during World War II and were famous for their ability to withstand damage and still accomplish the mission. Despite the risks of anti-aircraft barrages, attacking enemy fighters and the harrowing environment of sub-zero temperatures, many B-17s, B-25s and B-24s safely brought their crews home.
The P-51 Mustang, affectionately called the bombers’ “little friend,” protected the big planes from enemy fighter planes.
After the war, many of the aircraft were scrapped for their raw aluminum and were used in rebuilding the nation in post-war prosperity. Few were spared; even fewer were maintained in flying condition.
The rarity of the planes and their importance in telling the story of World War II are why the Collings Foundation continues to fly and display the aircraft nationwide.
At each location, local veterans and their families are encouraged to visit and to share stories of their experiences with the public. For aviation enthusiasts, the tour provides an opportunity for the museum to come to the visitor instead of the other way around.
The vintage planes are expected to arrive at LBCI around noon on Monday, and will be on display until their departure around noon on Thursday, April 11. They will be displayed on the ramp at Signature Flight Support at the airport.
Ground tours and open display will be from noon to 5 p.m. on Monday; 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday; and 9:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday. Tours are $15 for adults and $5 for children under age 12.
In addition, rare opportunities to ride in the B-17 or B-24 will be available for $450 per person. The flight lasts about 30 minutes. B-25 flights are $400 per person.
Flight training for the P-51 and P-40 also is available; the cost for training in the P-51 is $2,400 for half an hour or $3,400 for a full hour while cost for training in the P-40 is $2,200 for half an hour or $3,200 for a full hour.
For reservations and more information on flight experiences, call 800-568-8924.
For more information on the vintage planes and the Wings of Freedom Tour, go to www.collingsfoundation.org.