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WWII bombers, fighter flying into A-L Airport

The Wings of Freedom Tour of the WWII-vintage B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator and P-51 Mustang will fly in Auburn/Lewiston Municipal Airport for a visit from September 19 to September 21.

In honor of our WWII veterans, The Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour is flying in the extremely rare bomber and fighter aircraft for local living history display as part of a 110-city nationwide tour.

Participating in the tour is the famed Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine” Heavy Bomber, the Consolidated B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft” Heavy Bomber and a P-51 Mustang, considered the greatest fighter plane during WWII.

This is a unique opportunity to visit, explore and learn more about these unique and rare treasures of aviation history. The B-17 is one of only 10 in flying condition in the United States; the B-24J and Full Dual Control P-51C Mustang are the sole remaining examples of their type flying in the world.

Visitors are invited to explore the aircraft inside and out: $12 for adults and $6 for children under 12 is requested for access to up-close viewing and tours through the inside of the aircraft. WWII veterans can tour through the aircraft at no cost. Discounted rates are available 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 $425 per person. Get some “stick time” in the world’s greatest fighter! P-51 flights are $2,200 for a half hour and $3,200 for a full hour. For reservations and information on flight experiences, call 800-568-8924.

The Wings of Freedom Tour will arrive at Auburn/Lewiston Municipal Airport at 2 p.m. on September 19 and will be on display until the aircraft departs at noon on September 21. Hours of ground tours and display are: 2 to 5 p.m. on Monday, September 19; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20; and 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, September 21.

The 30-minute flight experiences are normally scheduled before and after the ground tours.

The Wings of Freedom Tour travels the nation in a flying tribute to the flight crews who flew these aircraft, 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 and B-24 were the backbone of the American bombing 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 fighters. After the war, many aircraft were scrapped for their raw aluminum to rebuild a nation in post-war prosperity, and very few were spared.

The rarity of the B-17, B-24 and P-51, as well as their importance to telling the story of WWII is why the Collings Foundation continues to fly and display the aircraft nationwide. At each location, the foundation encourages local veterans and their families to visit and share their experiences and stories with the public.

Visitors can find out more by visiting www.collingsfoundation.org.

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