NATIONAL WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR
March 22 – 26 » at the Museum
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to TOUR INSIDE AND OUT and FLY on these WWII aircraft:
Boeing B-17G “Flying Fortress” Nine-O-Nine | Consolidated B-24J “Liberator” Witchcraft
North American B-25J “Mitchell” Tondelayo | North American TF-51D “Mustang” Toulouse Nuts
BOEING B-17G “FLYING FORTRESS”
The Collings Foundation B-17 was named Nine-O-Nine in honor of a 91st Bomb Group, 323rd Squadron plane of the same name which completed 140 missions without an abort or loss of a crewman. The original Nine-O-Nine was assigned to combat on February 25, 1944. By April 1945, she had made eighteen trips to Berlin, dropped 562,000 pounds of bombs, and flown 1,129 hours. She had twenty-one engine changes, four wing panel changes, fifteen main gas tank changes, and 18 Tokyo tank changes (long-range fuel tanks). She also suffered from considerable flak damage.
After European hostilities ceased, Nine-O-Nine, with its six-hundred patched holes, flew back to the United States. While the rigors of war never stopped the historic Nine-O-Nine, she succumbed at last to the scrapper’s guillotine, along with thousands of other proud aircraft.
CONSOLIDATED B-24J “LIBERATOR”
The history of Witchcraft is a story that legends are made from. The original Witchcraft was produced as a B-24H, built by Ford at the famous Willow Run, MI plant in 1944. It was delivered to the 467th in Wendover, Utah and initially assigned to Second Lieutenant George W. Reed and his crew who flew the aircraft to England. Witchcraft safely arrived with her crew at Station 145 in Rackheath, England on March 19th, 1944, after a 20-day trip. The aircraft and crew began their combat service on April 10th, 1944, flying the first combat mission of the 467th Bomb Group. Over the next year Witchcraft flew an incredible 130 combat missions with various crews. Witchcraft was never once turned back while on a mission, and never had any crewmen injured or killed. Her last mission was flown on April 25th, 1945 which also was the last mission flown by the 467th Bomb Group. “…Witchcraft was there at the beginning and at the end.” The world’s only flying B-24J continues soaring through its native skies as part of the annual Wings of Freedom Tour with its sister ship, the B-17 “Flying Fortress.”
NORTH AMERICAN B-25 “MITCHELL”
It is an unmistakable sound… two Wright R-2600 engines echoing through the sky as one of America’s most famous medium bombers, the B-25 “Mitchell,” soars through the skies over 50 years after its service life. The B-25 gained a lasting place in aviation history as the aircraft used in the Doolittle Raid, the first American attack made on the Japanese mainland after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Sixteen B-25s took off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet on a daring mission that boosted America morale during the early days of WWII following a succession of Japanese victories. The B-25 was never designed to fly off of an aircraft carrier, but it adapted. That’s what the B-25 was known for, adaptability under any combat circumstance. Employed as a bomber in every theater of operations, and even as a ground attack aircraft and low-level bomber, the B-25 was a reliable aircraft with a proven record that was hard to beat. Even after WWII, the B-25 saw considerable use in the civilian sector as a transport aircraft and as a fire-bomber over America’s forested regions.
The Collings Foundation’s TF-51D “Mustang” (551CF) has joined the national Wings of Freedom Tour. Named Grand Champion at the 2016 Oshkosh AirVenture, Toulouse Nuts is one of the world’s finest TF-51D restorations. Tens of thousands of hours went into rebuilding this fighter to “brand new” condition, and every surface, rivet, wire, and instrument is perfect. The 1,450 horsepower “Merlin” engine looks and sounds like it just came off the factory floor. We offer flight training in Toulouse Nuts; this fighter is a flying sculpture you can experience.
After WWII, most piston-engine fighters served substantially reduced roles as jet-powered aircraft began to join the inventory. The “Mustang,” however, still proved useful in the Korean War and stateside in the Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard. Two-seat TF-51D “Mustangs” trained fighter pilots until new jet trainers such as the T-33 “Shooting Star’ were fully utilized. The Collings Foundation’s TF-51D is one of three original TF-51Ds remaining in the world. It is painted in its original markings as Toulouse Nuts, a “Mustang” in the 167th Fighter Squadron of the West Virginia Air National Guard.
WALK THROUGH TOUR
Wednesday, March 22
2 pm – 4 pm
Thursday, March 23 through Sunday, March 26
10 am – 4 pm
$7 Children 12 and under
World War II veterans admitted free to the ground visit
*Includes admission into the Museum
Flights take place before and after the ground tours.
Call 1-800-568-8924 or 978-562-9182 for flight reservations.
Read more about the flight experiences.
B-17 Flying Fortress
30 Minute Flight Experience
$450 donation per person
30 Minute Flight Experience
$450 donation per person
25 Minute Flight Experience
$400 donation per person
TF-51D Mustang Flight Training
Fly with a flight instructor
and actually fly our
30 Minute Lesson: $2200
60 Minute Lesson: $3200
– No flying experience required
*All donations to fly aboard the aircraft are tax-deductible and help fund the continued operation of the aircraft on the 110 city annual tour.
The Collings Foundation is a non-profit, Educational Foundation (501(c)3), founded in 1979. The purpose of the Foundation is to organize and support “living history” events and the preservation, exhibition and interaction of historical artifacts that enable Americans to learn more about their heritage through direct participation. Since 1989, a major focus of the Foundation has been the “Wings of Freedom Tour” of WWII aircraft. The “Wings of Freedom Tour” has two goals: to honor the sacrifices made by our veterans that allow us to enjoy our freedom; and to educate the visitors, especially younger Americans, about our national history and heritage. The Foundation encourages people to tour the planes, talk to the veterans who come to visit the aircraft, and participate in a “flight experience”. Celebrating 26 years, the tour has made more than 3,000 visits to airports across the United States and Alaska. While the exact number of visitors is difficult to gauge, it is estimated that over 3.5 million people see these fully restored historic aircraft annually.