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Posted on 04.24.2014 10:30 a.m.

Wings of Freedom Tour’s Vintage WWII Aircraft to Fly Into Santa Barbara Airport

The Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour will bring rare bomber and fighter World War II aircraft to the Santa Barbara Airport on May 12-14.
The Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour will bring rare bomber and fighter World War II aircraft to the Santa Barbara Airport on May 12-14.  (The Collings Foundation photo)

Source: Hunter Chaney for The Collings Foundation

The Wings of Freedom Tour of the World War II vintage Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Consolidated B-24 Liberator and North American P-51 Mustang announce a unique display at the Santa Barbara Airport from May 12-14.

In honor of WWII veterans, The Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour will bring extremely rare bomber and fighter aircraft for the local living history display as part of a 110-city nationwide tour.

Participating in The Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour, the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine” WWII Heavy Bomber, Consolidated B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft” WWII Heavy Bomber and P-51 Mustang fighter will fly into the Santa Barbara Airport.

This is a rare opportunity to visit, explore and learn more about these unique and rare treasures of aviation history. The B-17 is one of only eight in flying condition in the United States, and 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 — $12 for adults and $6 for children under 12 is requested for access to up-close viewing and tours through the inside of the aircraft. WWII veterans can tour through the aircraft at no cost. Discounted rates are available for school groups. Visitors may also experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually 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.

The Wings of Freedom Tour will arrive at the Santa Barbara Airport at 2 p.m. May 12 and will be on display at Atlantic Aviation at the Santa Barbara Airport until the aircraft departs at noon May 14. Hours of ground tours and display are 2 through 5 p.m. Monday, May 12; 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 13; and 9 a.m. through noon Wednesday, May 14. The 30-minute flight experiences are normally scheduled before and after the ground tour times above.

The Collings Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational foundation devoted to organizing “living history” events that allows people to learn more about their heritage and history through direct participation.

The nationwide Wings of Freedom Tour is celebrating its 25th year and visits an average of 110 cities in over 35 states annually. Since its start, tens of millions of people have seen the B-17, B-24 and P-51 display at locations everywhere. The Wings of Freedom Tour is one of the most extraordinary and unique interactive traveling historical displays of its kind.

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 harrowing 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” — saving 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. The rarity of the B-17, B-24 and P-51 — and their importance to telling the story of WWII — is why The Collings Foundation continues to fly and display the aircraft nationwide.

At each location, we encourage local veterans and their families to visit and share their experiences and stories with the public. For aviation enthusiasts, the tour provides opportunity for the museum to come to the visitor and not the other way around.

Visitors can find out more on our website by clicking here.

— Hunter Chaney is the marketing director for The Collings Foundation.

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