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Touch a piece of plane history

World War II aircrafts land in Blairsville

POSTED: October 17, 2013 1:00 a.m.

Three World War II era planes will fly into Blairsville, giving people of all ages a chance to interact with history this week.

The Nationwide Wings of Freedom tour is in its 24th year and visits about 110 cities in more than 35 states each year. The tour will stop at noon Oct. 21 at the Blairsville Airport in Blairsville.

The tour is sponsored by the Collings Foundation, a nonprofit educational foundation that organizes living history events.

A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine,” Consolidated B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft,” and a P-51 Mustang fighter will fly into the airport and be on display until noon Oct. 23.

According to the foundation, the B-17 is one of only eight 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 may tour the crafts inside and out for $12 for adults, and $6 for children younger than 12. WWII veterans will be allowed to tour the aircraft at no cost.

Blairsville stop organizer Beth Dyer said the event is open to people of all ages. She added regardless of age, adults and children can expect a fun, educational opportunity.

“They will expect to find living history,” Dyer said. “They’re going to get to see, touch, feel and crawl through these air crafts.”

For those who want to experience the planes in action, 30-minute flights on either the B-17 or B-24 are available for $425 per person. P-51 flights are available for $2,200 for a half hour or $3,200 for a full hour.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling 800-568-8924.

Dyer said the opportunity to actually fly in the vintage planes is “one-of-a-kind.” Passengers will be allowed to move about the plane after take off.

“(The planes) haven’t been gutted,” Dyer said. “They’re authentically restored. They have guns mounted so you can still look through the sights. This isn’t like an air show where you just go to see. You actually get to touch these pieces of living history.”


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