A trio of World War II era planes visited the Flathead Valley from June 25 to 27 as part of the Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour. Among the visiting aircraft was the B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine” heavy bomber, the Consolidated B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft” heavy bomber and a P-51 Mustang fighter.
The three planes were on display at Glacier Park International Airport and were even available to give visitors rides. The B-17 is one of only eight planes still flying in the world and the B-24 and P-51 planes are the only surviving examples that are still airworthy. The B-17 and B-24 planes were the backbone of the American air fleet during World War II and were famous for their abilities to sustain damage and yet continue to fly. After the war, many of the planes were scrapped, but a lucky few escaped the torch.
The Collings Foundation is a non-profit group that is dedicated to organizing “living history” events and is the primary sponsor of the Wings of Freedom Tour that is in its 25th year. Every year, the tour visits an average of 110 cities and 35 states. For more information, visit www.collingsfoundation.org.
A family looks an historic B-24 Liberator, nicknamed "Witchcraft," that was on display at Glacier Park International Airport from June 25 to 27 as part of the Wings of Freedom National Tour that brough three World War II-era bombers and a fighter jet to Kalispell. Justin Franz | Flathead Beacon
Trey Gates, Ryan Myers and Tyler Gates wait out a passing rain shower under the wing of historic B-17 Flying Fortress "Nine O Nine," a World War II-era heavy bomber that visited Kalispell from June 25 to 27. Justin Franz | Flathead Beacon
Consolidated B-24 Liberator "Witchcraft" sits in the rain on the tarmack at Glacier Park International Airport on the afternoon of June 26. Justin Franz | Flathead Beacon
A couple inspect the tail wing of an historic B-17 bomber that was on display this week at Glacier Park International Airport. Justin Franz | Flathead Beacon
Two WWII era bombers sit on the tarmat at Glacier Park International Airport on the afternoon of June 26 during the Wings of Freedom national tour. Justin Franz | Flathead Beacon
Rain drips down the side of a B-24 bomber on display at Glacier Park International Airport. The plane has the names of past crew members painted on the side. Justin Franz | Flathead Beacon
Ashley Ezell of American Aero Services works on a P-51 Mustang fighter that is part of the Wings of Freedom tour. Every 100 hours of flying the plane must be given a full inspection. Justin Franz | Flathead Beacon