TEMPLE — The Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour of vintage military aircraft will be on display at Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional Airport in Temple from March 20 to 22 as part of a 110-city nation-wide tour honoring World War II veterans.
Aircraft on display will include the World War II Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Consolidated B-24 Liberator, North American B-25 Mitchell, P-51 Mustang and a Vietnam-era Huey Helicopter.
The event 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 eight in flying condition in the U.S. 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 2016 Oshkosh Grand Champion Award for restoration.
The Huey helicopter was originally flown by Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Maj. Stephen Pless during the Vietnam War. Pless was awarded the Medal of Honor for retrieving wounded soldiers while under heavy fire by the enemy, often flying his helicopter through the debris caused by explosions from the helicopter’s rockets.
There are some costs associated with the tour, according to a release by the Collings Foundation. The costs are used to maintain and fly the aircraft.
Tours of the aircraft are $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12, with discounted rates for school groups. Visitors may also experience the opportunity to actually take a 30-minute flight aboard the aircraft. Flights on either the B-17 or B-24 are $450 per person, $400 per person for B-25 flights and $100 bench/$120 front per person for the Huey. P-51 flight training is $2,200 for a half hour and $3,200 for a full hour to learn how to fly the “Mustang.”
The Collings Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational foundation devoted to organizing “living history” events that allow people to learn more about their heritage and history through direct participation, according to Collings Foundation spokesman Hunter Chaney. 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 display will be located at the main terminal of the Central Texas Regional Airport, 7720-F Airport Road in Temple. For reservations and information on flight experiences call 800-568-8924.