B-17 Flying Fortress “Sentimental Journey” and P-51 Mustang “Red Nose” Going to Bristol, TN

CAF Arizona Airbase B-17 "Sentimental Journey photographed by by Jay Beckman.
CAF Arizona Airbase B-17  "Sentimental Journey photographed by by Jay Beckman.
CAF Arizona Airbase’s B-17 “Sentimental Journey photographed by  Jay Beckman.

PRESS RELEASE- One of the last flying WWII B-17 bombers, “Sentimental Journey,” will be available for cockpit tours and flights at the Tri-City Regional Airport, September 15th –22nd, 2014. Accompanying the Sentimental Journey on September 19th-21st will be her classic fighter escort, the North American P-51 Mustang “Red Nose.”The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was the primary bomber used by the American Air Force against the industrial strength of Nazi Germany, and is widely acknowledged as having turned the tide of World War II. Of the almost 13,000 B-17s originally built, less than ten remain in flying condition and only a very few fly regularly.  More than nine hundred B-17s were lost in combat over Europe, with a loss of nearly 10,000 airmen; the US 8th Air Force suffering the majority of these losses. Sentimental Journey proudly displays markings of the 457th Bomb Group in their remembrance. Nose art of the Sentimental Journey features the sassy Betty Grable, in her famous pose as the number-one pin-up girl of the World War II era. The aircraft is named after a song made popular by Doris Day in 1945.“Airplane enthusiasts, veterans, children and all history buffs will love seeing this famous WWII aircraft,” says Russ Gilmore, Chief Operations Officer of Airbase Arizona.  Sentimental Journey and Red Nose are maintained and operated as flying museums and veterans’ memorials by the all-volunteer non-profit Commemorative Air Force. Built during 1943, Sentimental Journey has been continuously flown; performing military mapping reconnaissance, nuclear testing, and firefighting before being retired. It was donated to the Arizona Wing in 1978, restored to full military specification, and has been touring North America since the early 1980s.

Almost 15,000 North American Mustangs of all types were built for the Army. Mustangs destroyed 4,950 enemy aircraft in Europe to make them the highest scoring U. S. fighter in the war, with an estimated 11:1 kill ratio. They were used as dive-bombers, bomber escorts, ground-attackers, or interceptors — and after the war, as high performance racers.A thrilling flight inside the Sentimental Journey starts at $425 per person. For flight reservations, call 602-448-9415 or email b17rc@azcaf.org.   Cockpit tours are only $5 per person or $10 per family; ground viewing and photo opportunities are free to the visiting public from 9a-5p each day.

Flights in Red Nose start at $1595. Because Red Nose is a dual control P-51, any passenger holding a current pilot’s license may elect to receive aerobatic instruction from the pilot for an additional $200 fee – truly, a once in a lifetime experience.   “Our instructors will walk you through a full acro routine then give you the controls and let you give it your best shot,” says Phil Beegle, Red Nose pilot.  “There is nothing like pulling 3 Gs in the bottom of a loop when you’re in control of a P-51 Mustang!”

The CAF Dixie WIng's P-51D "Red Nose" is the first airplanes purchased by the CAF in 1957 for $ 2,500. IMage by Warbirds News
The CAF Dixie WIng’s P-51D “Red Nose” is the first airplanes purchased by the CAF in 1957 for $ 2,500. IMage by Warbirds News

Sentimental Journey is normally based at the Arizona Airbase of the Commemorative Air Force located at Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona. Organized in 1978, the CAF’s mission is to restore and preserve historically important aircraft and related memorabilia in order to educate the public about the significant contributions made by men and women in the defense of our nation.

For more information visit www.azcaf.org

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