WOAI Local News Sponsored by Five Star Cleaners

 

World War Two Era Bomber, Fighter on Display at Stinson

World War Two Era Bomber, Fighter on Display at Stinson

 

  It was a blast from the past at Stinson Field, as one of the only 12 World War Two era B-17 'Flying Fortress' World War Two era bombers still flying glided to a stop at the historic station, followed by a P-51 Mustang fighter plane.

 

  "Our main mission is to serve as a living memorials to the Air Crews who served on the B-17 mainly, but also to all air crews and all of the veterans who served in World War Two, said Scott Maher, the Director of Flight Operations for the Liberty Foundation, which is putting the planes in the air was part of the 2014 Salute to Veterans.

 

 

  "It's a great release for a lot of the veterans," he said.  "They come out here and they see this and they get to relive their younger years."

 

  The Boeing B-17 'Memphis Belle' was featured in a 1980s' era movie of the same name, and is one of the most intricately restored World War Two planes still in the air.  The P-51 is the property of the Commemorative Air Force.

 

 

  More than 12,000 B-17s were produced by Boeing during the war, and 4700 of them were lost in combat.  The B-17 was also used in the Korean War, during the Israeli war for independence, and even as late as the Vietnam War.

 

  This particular airplane, a B-17G, did not see any actual combat in the war, as it was built in mid 1945.  But it has been restored as a B-17F "Memphis Belle' with the colors and the markings of the 91st Bomb Group, Eight Air Force.  The original Memphis Belle was the first B-17 to complete 25 millions.

 

 

  The P-51 was used as a bomber escort and later as a 'Luftwaffe hunter' fighter plane throughout World War Two.

 

  "The day the P-51 went from defensive to offensive, on the orders of General James Doolittle, was the day Germany lost the war," was how one historian summed up the Mustang.

 

  The P-51 remained in active duty with some air forces into the 1980s.

 

 

  The planes will be on display at Stinson through this coming weekend.  Maher says people can take a 45 minute flight on the B-17 for $450, the cost helps to pay for the $1.5 million a year the foundation pays to maintain the bomber.

 

  Maher says 1500 World War Two veterans are dying each day.

 

  "With each death, another story of courage, honor, and sacrifice is lost forever," he said.  "This aircraft represents that legacy of courage and valor."

 

 

 

 

More Articles