Several iconic World War 2 aircraft will be landing in the Borderland in April as part of the nationwide ‘Wings of Freedom’ Tour.
Participating in the Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour will be the B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine,” B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft,” B-25 Mitchell “Tondelayo” bombers and the P-51 Mustang “Toulouse Nuts” fighter. The aircraft will fly into the Dona Ana County International Jetport for a visit from April 4th to 6th.
Via a news release, officials with the Collings Foundation say, “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 9 in flying condition in the United States. The B-24J Liberator 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 and the P-51 “Toulouse Nuts” fighter recently received the prestigious Oshkosh Grand Champion Award for restoration.”
“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!” officials added.
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, B-25s 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.
Visitors are invited to explore the aircraft inside and out – $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12 is requested for access to up-close viewing and tours through the inside of the aircraft. Discounted rates for school groups. 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-51 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.
WHERE: The Dona Ana County International Jetport located at the War Eagles Air Museum, 8012 Airport Road.
WHEN: The WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR will arrive at the War Eagles Air Museum at 3:00 PM on Wednesday, April 4th and will be on display until the aircraft departs after 12:00 PM operations on Friday, April 6th. Hours of ground tours and display are: 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, Wednesday, April 4th, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Thursday, April 5th and 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Friday, April 6th. The 30-minute flight experiences are normally scheduled before and after the ground tour times above.
WHY: 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 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 29th year and visits an average of 110 cities in over 35 states annually.
Visitors can find out more by visiting their website.