By Hunter Chaney, Collings Foundation
In honor of our WWII Veterans, the Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour is bringing extremely rare bomber and fighter aircraft on a 110-city US tour. Participating in the tour, the B-17 Flying Fortress Nine O Nine, Consolidated B-24 Liberator Witchcraft, B-25 Mitchell Tondelayo bombers, and P-51D Mustang Toulouse Nuts fighter, will fly into Raleigh-Durham Airport for a visit October 19-22, 2017.
This is a rare opportunity to visit, explore, and learn more about these unique and rare treasures of aviation history. The B-17 is one of only 8 in flying condition in the United States; the B-24J is the sole remaining example of its type flying in the World. The B-25 is best known for being used in the daring Doolittle raid. The P-51D Mustang was just awarded Grand Champion for restoration at EAA Oshkosh AirVenture.
Visitors are invited to explore the aircraft inside and out, with $15 for adults and $5 for children (under 12) requested for access to up-close viewing and tours through the inside of the aircraft.
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 aircraft will be on display at the Raleigh-Durham Airport (RDU), located at the NC Department of Transportation facility, 1050 Meridian Drive, Morrisville NC. The tour will arrive at RDU Airport on October 19, 2017, at 2pm, and will be on display until the aircraft departs after operations on October 22, 2017.
Hours of ground tours and display are:
- 2pm through 4pm on Thursday, October 19, 2017
- 2pm* through 4pm on Friday, October 20, 2017
- 9am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday, October 21 and 22, 2017
* Original release listed start time as 2AM.
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. Get some “stick time” in the world’s greatest fighter! P-51D flight training is $2,200 for a half hour and $3,200 for a full hour. 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 above.
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. 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-51 — and their importance to telling the story of WWII is why the Collings Foundation continues to fly and display the aircraft nationwide. 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! Visitors can find out more by visiting our website at www.collingsfoundation.org.
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 28th 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 & 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.