CENTRAL JERSEY: Vintage WWII aircraft take to the skies as part of Wings of Freedom Tour

Around 1:30 p.m. today, Monday, Aug. 31, go outside, look to the eastern sky, and listen. Hear an unusual low rumble from the great blue? That is the sound of four rare World War II bomber and fighter aircraft flying to Trenton as part of the national Wings of Freedom Tour.
The tour of the vintage Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Consolidated B-24 Liberator and North American P-51 Mustang is the run-up to a display at Landmark Aviation, 300 Scotch Road, in Trenton Mercer Airport from Monday to Wednesday, Sept. 2. It is one stop on the Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom living history display as part of 110-city tour.
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine” heavy bomber, Consolidated B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft” heavy bomber and P-51 Mustang fighter will fly into Trenton Mercer Airport.
The B-17 is one of only 8 in flying condition in the United States, the B-24J and full dual control P-51C Mustang are the sole remaining examples of their type flying in the world.
Visitors are invited to explore the aircraft inside and out for a cost of $12 for adults and $6 for children under 12 for access to up-close viewing and tours through the inside of the aircraft. World War II veterans can tour through the aircraft at no cost.
Visitors may also experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a 30-minute flight aboard these rare aircraft. Flights on either the B-17 or B-24 are $450 per person. Get some “stick time” in the world’s greatest fighter! P-51 flights are $2,200 for a half-hour and $3,200 for a full hour. For reservations and information on flight experiences, call 800-568-8924.
Aircraft depart Sept. 2 after noon. Hours of ground tours and display are 2 to 5 p.m. Monday, August 31; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, and 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday. The 30-minute flight experiences are normally scheduled before and after the ground tour times above.
The Collings Foundation is a non-profit educational foundation devoted to organizing “living history” events that allows people to learn more about their heritage and history through direct participation.
The Wings Of Freedom Tour travels the nation 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 B-17 and B-24 were the backbone of the American effort during the war from 1942 to 1945 and were famous for their ability to sustain damage and still accomplish the mission. Despite the risks of anti-aircraft fire, attacking enemy fighters and the environment of sub-zero temperatures, many B-17s and B-24s safely brought their crews home.
The P-51 Mustang was affectionately known as the bombers’ “Little Friend” and saved countless crews from attacking Axis fighters. After the war, many aircraft were scrapped for their raw aluminum to rebuild a nation in post-war prosperity and therefore very few were spared.
Visitors can find out more by visiting www.collingsfoundation.org. 