Vintage World War II planes coming to Auburn-Lewiston airport


The Wings of Freedom Tour will be on display at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport from Sept. 27-29. The four World War II aircraft scheduled to be available for tours and rides are, from top, B-25 bomber, B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator and P-51 Mustang fighter. 

AUBURN — The Wings of Freedom Tour is returning to the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport.

Four rare and fully restored World War II airplanes will be on display and available for rides from Wednesday, Sept. 27, to Friday, Sept. 29.

The living-history exhibit, now in its 28th year, will fly into Auburn as part of its 110-city tour that honors World War II veterans and serves as a flying tribute to their courage and service. The vintage aircraft scheduled to be in Auburn are:

• B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine;”

• Consolidated B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft;”

• B-25 Mitchell “Tondelayo” bomber;

• P-51 Mustang “Toulouse Nuts” fighter.

According to the Collings Foundation, which sponsors the Wings of Freedom Tour and maintains the planes, the B-17 is one of only eight in the U.S. in flying condition. The B-24J 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. The P-51 Mustang was just awarded Grand Champion for restoration at EAA Oshkosh AirVenture.

The B-17, B-25 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 harrowing environment of subzero temperatures, many B-17s and B-24s safely brought their crews home.

The P-51 Mustang was affectionately known as the bombers “Little Friend” — saving countless crews from attacking axis fighters. 

The aircraft will arrive at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at 2 p.m. The planes will be available for tours Wednesday from 2 to 5 p.m., Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon.

The cost to explore the aircraft inside and out is $15 for adults and $5 for children under age 12.

The Collings Foundation encourages local veterans and their families to visit and share their experiences and stories with the public. 

Visitors may also experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a 30-minute flight aboard one of these aircraft. Flights on either the B-17 or B-24 are $450 per person. “Stick time” in the P-51 is $2,200 for half an hour and $3,200 for an hour. The B-25 flights are $400 per person.

The 30-minute flight experiences are normally scheduled before and after the ground tours. For reservations and information on flight experiences call 800-568-8924.

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