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Vintage aircraft highlight 4th Wings of Freedom Living History Tour

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
March 15, 2011 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated March 15, 2011 at 10:16 p.m.

A B-25 bomber will be among some of the vintage World War II aircraft available for tours and flights at the Wings of Freedom Living History Tour at the Victoria Regional Airport on April 1-4.

From heroes to helicopters, bombers to biplanes, the 2011 Wings of Freedom Living History Tour will bring the past to life the first four days in April at the Victoria Regional Airport.

The Guadalupe Victoria Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution fundraiser will feature a variety of vintage aircraft available for touring and flights as well as a number of special guests.

The is the fourth Wings of Freedom event and the first since 2009.

"It is an opportunity to come out and tour the planes, talk to the veterans and hear their stories first-hand," said Bettye Pribyl of the local DAR chapter. "There will also be many active duty military, with their planes, attending and this presents an excellent opportunity to educate our youth about the military, past and present."

Among those special guests will be the "Kissing Sailor," Glenn McDuffie who will autograph and sell copies of the famous photograph showing him celebrating the end of World War II.

Also on hand will be Bill Buchanan, a member of the crew who was to be on board when the third atomic bomb would have been dropped on Japan had it not surrendered, according to a news release from the DAR.

Also expected to attend is A.J. High, one of the back-up pilots to Jimmy Doolittle's crew. High was also one of the first pilots for Trans Texas Airways that later became Continental Airlines and flew the first commercial flight into Victoria on Oct. 11, 1947.

The men will also be special guests at Friday night's Warrior's Weekend Muster that benefits the Warrior's Weekend in Port O'Connor in May.

THE AIRCRAFT

Fully restored WWII vintage aircraft will roar into the airport beginning April 1. Most will be available to the public for flights for a tax-deductible fee.

Among the aircraft at the event, many on display courtesy of the Collings Foundation, will be the only fully restored and flying 1944 Consolidated B24-J Liberator, the bomber Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress and the P-51C Mustang fighter.

A Huey helicopter from the Vietnam War era as well as Apache helicopters will also be on display.

Other highlights of the aircraft at the event will be the C-47 "Bluebonnet Belle," the FM-2 Wildcat, the B-25 bomber "Pacific Prowler," and a 1930 New Standard biplane named "Stanley." For flight reservations on the Pacific Prowler call 817-659-9249 or e-mail:

greatestgenerationaircraftpr@gmail.com

AND MORE

In addition to the actual aircraft, a flight simulator will be on hand for those who want the "thrill of the flight without leaving the ground," according to the news release.

A variety of vendors will be on hand including clowns, face painting, demonstrations, antique cars, as well as numerous food and drink vendors.

For more information, including for school group discounts, call 361-573-9402 or 361-571-9402.

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