Rare WWII aircraft to be in the Valley and welcome visitors Oct. 12-14
In the whole U.S. there are only eight airworthy B-17 Flying Fortresses left. One will welcome visitors at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport along with some vintage companion aircraft.
For about the same price as a movie ticket, one may go inside the airplanes. One may even take a flight, though the cost will be considerably more for that experience.
According to Heather Ream with the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, these planes from the war that ended 71 years ago are expected to be present Wednesday, Oct. 12 through Friday, Oct. 14:
B-17 Flying Fortress bomber named “Nine O Nine"
B-24 Liberator bomber named “Witchcraft”
B-25 Mitchell bomber named "Tondelayo"
P-51 Mustang fighter named "Toulouse Nuts"
"The B-24J... is the sole remaining example of its type flying in the world," Ream said. (Ream also provided the statistic above about the number of B-17s.)
The Wednesday, Oct. 12 ground tour hours will be 2 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Hours on the ground Thursday, Oct. 13 will be 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 14 ground hours will be 9 a.m - noon.
Flights with paying passengers can happen each of the days above before and after the ground tour hours.
Ground tour prices are $12 for adults, $6 for children (under age 12).
"Visitors may also experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually take a 30-minute flight aboard these rare aircraft," Ream said.
One may fly in the B-25 bomber for $400.
Flights in a B-17 or B-24 bomber are $450.
In the fighter, the prices are $2,200 for 30 minutes and $3,200 for an hour.
The phone number for reservations and information is 800-568-8924.
One can reach the airport from I-81 Exit 235 (Weyers Cave, Grottoes, Rt. 256). From there, go a bit over 2 miles eastward on Rt. 256 (Weyers Cave Road), turn right onto Rt. 771 (Airport Road) and find the airport entry not quite a mile up that road on the left before a sharp curve. There are "airport" signs along the way.
The nationwide Wings of Freedom Tour of is in its 27th year. The WWII aviation history program is a service of the educational non-profit organization, the Collings Foundation. The Wings of Freedom Tour "travels the nation as 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," according to Hunter Chaney with the foundation. "The tour provides opportunity for the museum to come to the visitor and not the other way around," Chaney added.
The foundation and the airport encouraged veterans and their families to attend.