By Tamas Mondovics
Honoring the Country’s WWII Veterans, Collings Foundation has once again scheduled to land and display some of the rarest treasures of WWII aviation history in Tampa this month.
This is part of a nationwide 110-city tour appropriately named, Wings of Freedom Tour, which allows visitors to get up-close-and-personal with the WWII Vintage Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Consolidated B-24 Liberator, North American B-25 Mitchell and P-51 Mustang.
The airplanes are scheduled to fly into the Tampa Executive Airport, (formerly known as Vandenberg Airport located at Skyport Aviation, 6530 Tampa Executive Airport Rd.), on Monday, February 13, and fly on to their next destination on Thursday, February 16.
“The short visit will give residents a rare opportunity to visit, explore, and learn more about these unique, fully restored WWII bomber and fighter aircraft,” said Hunter Chaney, with Collings Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit educational foundation devoted to organizing “living history” events.
Chaney emphasized that the tour is in a fact 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.”
For $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12, visitors are invited to explore the aircraft inside and out. For a bit more, 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; the B-25 flights are $400 per person.
Those with deeper pockets can get some “stick time” in what many considers the world’s greatest fighter, the P-51. Flight training is available for $2,200 for a half hour and $3,200 for a full hour. All of the proceeds go back into the operation of the aircraft.
“Touring through and flying in these amazing aircraft is an experience in WWII history you will never forget,” Chaney said
Aviation enthusiasts and visitors can learn more by visiting www.collingsfoundation.org. For reservations, call 800-568-8924.