The Collings Foundation has been running their barnstorming Wings of Freedom tour across North America for 25 years now. As of May 1st, they had made 2,867 stops along the way, which is a remarkable feat. They are still going strong, and adding aircraft to the fleet. Currently the B-17, B-24 and P-51 are journeying through California (with brief forays into Nevada), and will visit 18 towns and cities there before flying up through Oregon, and then Washington State by early June. Then they fly east, tracing the northern states.
Another of the Collings Foundation’s aircraft, their B-25J Mitchell “Tondelayo”, will join the tour during its stop at the Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana at John Wayne Airport. The B-25 will continue with the other three aircraft until the June 6th stop in Concord, California, but will be offering rides at each stop just like the B-17, B-24 and P-51.
Rather heart-warmingly, the tour still brings quite a number of WWII veterans out amongst the public throngs to see their former steeds. In a recent press release, the Collings Foundation noted how many of these veterans recount fascinating, and often startling stories of guts and survival against incredible odds. These tales are always welcomed by the Collings Foundation staff and crew. The warbird visits are often amazing opportunities for the general public to meet and hear these stories themselves from the people who actually lived them, alongside the aircraft they lived them in.
According to the CF press release, on Friday, May 23rd, local organizer Mick Hanou, volunteers and friends are hosting a 91st Bomb Group reunion during the tour’s stay at Moffett Federal Airfield. This is one we are all looking forward to! Our B-17G Flying Fortress is painted in honor of the 8th AF, 91st BG, 323rd Squadron bomber named “Nine 0 Nine.” The original aircraft flew 140 missions without an abort, or loss of crewman.
The Collings Foundation is continuing its dedication to honoring our WWII Veterans. Living History programs like the Wings of Freedom tour are vitally important to keep going. We ask you – please come out, be a part of program, volunteer, help promote your stop and most importantly, shake the hand of a local WWII Veteran.
A great way to see what is happening with the Wings of Freedom tour “in real time” is to visit our Facebook page HERE.
If you want to help promote a stop near you, send Hunter Chaney an e-mail at: email@example.com
PLZ HELP> a couple of years ago WOF flew into Goleta, Ca. The pilot of the B-24 had a nickname of “Pappy”. How can I contact him? My father was a B-24 pilot out of North Africa, bombing Rommel’s supply ports in Sicily. Was shot up by ground fire, limped to Malta, “water landed” just short of land. Pappy and Dad had quite a conversation. I would like to get some pictures and a book to Pappy.