Vintage WWII Planes Arrive for Wings of Freedom Tour

Wings of Freedom Tour Arrives on Cape Cod

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HYANNIS – Several Historic World War II aircraft landed at Barnstable Municipal Airport Monday for the Wings of Freedom Tour.

The Collings Foundation tour will display four World War II planes through Wednesday, including a North American B-25 Mitchell, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber, Consolidated B-24 Liberator Heavy Bomber and P-51 Mustang fighter.

Collings Foundation Executive Director Rob Collings says the tour helps preserve the history of the war.

“We are tragically losing a lot of our veterans and the stories are going away with them,” Collings said. “This is a way to preserve that history so that younger generations can come out and learn about the sacrifices made during World War II.”

The Collings Foundation owns a lot of World War II aircraft, but normally operates only four during the tour across the country. The bombers require about 25 hours of maintenance for every hour of flight.

“They are incredibly intensive to maintain in this flying condition but it is all worth it because we can bring the museum to the public and people can see these aircraft,” Collings said.

Collings said if visitors get a chance to meet a World War II veteran during the tour they should take the time to shake their hand, say thanks and listen to their stories.

“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have our freedom today,” Collings said.

B-25 Mitchell Flight Engineer Thaddeus Jones said flying inside the bomber is like being in a large tin can with two big motors.

“It’s deafening,” Jones said. “You have to wear ear protection. You can’t talk to each other normally. You have to have the headset like I wear with the pilot and co-pilot. If you are a passenger you can’t talk and we have to communicate with pre-arranged hand signals.”

Visitors can tour the aircraft with a $15 admission, $5 for children under 12. Attendees can also take 30-minute flights on the B-17 or B-24 for $450 per person. Flight training on the P-51 is $2,200 for 30 minutes and $3,200 for an hour.

The tour’s hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and 9:30 a.m. to noon Wednesday.

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