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The Madison Record

Airpower History Tour brings World War II aircraft for display, flights

MERIDIANVILLE – Airpower History Tour has brought iconic World War II aircraft for tours and rides to North Alabama.

The aircraft has been staged at the Executive Flight Center FBO ramp located at Huntsville Executive Airport, 360 Clyde Shelton Drive, Meridianville.

Sights, sounds and stories of World War II aviation has come to life with the B-29 Superfortress, nicknamed ‘FIFI,’ and the B-24 Liberator, nicknamed ‘DIAMOND LIL.’ A T-6 Texan, PT-13 Stearman and P-51 Mustang or ‘Gunfighter’ also are on display.

The Commemorative Air Force is presenting the event and brings its AirPower History Tour to airports across North America each year. Visitors can have up-close views of all aircraft, purchase rides and tour the B-29 and B-24 cockpits when the aircraft are not flying.

Planes started to arrive on April 25. The P-51 will arrive April 29 at noon. Tours and flights will continue until May 1.

The tour is open to the public daily from 9 a.m.to 5 p.m. Supporting aircraft will be offering rides all five days. The P-51 will offer rides beginning at 1 p.m. on April 29. The B-29 will fly on April 30 and May 1 at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. The B-24 will fly on April 30 and May 1 at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Cockpit tours of the B-29 and B-24 will be available daily starting at 9 a.m., except on April 30 and May 1 when tours open at noon.

To access the ramp, adults will pay $20; 11- through 17-year-olds, $10; and 10-year-olds and younger, free. To book rides in advance, visit AirPowerTour.org.

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the largest and most technically advanced aircraft of its time, first flew in 1942. The aircraft is best known for missions over Japan that helped end World War II.

In 1971, Commemorative Air Force acquired ‘FIFI’, one of only two B-29’s still flying. In 1974, FIFI started touring with CAF and has been entertaining audiences ever since.

The Consolidated B-24 Liberator, or ‘DIAMOND LIL,’ was the most produced warplane in America during World War II with more than 18,400 aircraft. Diamond Lil is one of only two B-24s still flying.

With its speed, range and sleek lines, the P-51 Mustang became a favorite of Allied fighter pilots and bomber crews. The North American T-6 Texan, or ‘Pilotmaker,’ was an advanced flight trainer that introduced new pilots to a complex aircraft with more speed exceeding 200-plus miles per hour. The Boeing PT-13, an iconic bi-plane known as the ‘Stearman,’ trained more crews than any other aircraft in World War II.

For more information, visit commemorativeairforce.org.

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