People will get a chance to tour and even fly in four World War II-era bomber and fighter planes at Raleigh-Durham International Airport later this month.
The Wings of Freedom Tour will include three bombers – a B-17 Flying Fortress, a Consolidated B-24 Liberator and a B-25 Mitchell – and a P-51D Mustang fighter plane. The planes are scheduled to arrive Thursday, Oct. 19, and will be on display and giving rides at the state Division of Aviation hangar at RDU through Sunday, Oct. 22.
The event is put on by The Collings Foundation of Stow, Mass., which takes the planes to more than 100 airports around the country each year to honor the people who built, maintained and flew them and to provide living history lessons. Last month, a different nonprofit, the Freedom Foundation, brought a B-17 bomber to the Raleigh Executive Jetport in Sanford for public tours and flights.
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The cost to tour the four planes, inside and out, is $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Half-hour flights on either the B-17 or B-24 are $450 per person, while B-25 flights are $400 per person. The chance to co-pilot the P-51D fighter is $2,200 for a half hour and $3,200 for a full hour. For reservations and information about the flights, call 800-568-8924.
The planes are expected to arrive at RDU at 2 p.m. on Oct. 19 and will be open for tours from 2 to 4 p.m. that day and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 20, 21 and 22. Flights will take place before and after those times. Several school groups are expected to see the planes on Oct. 20.
The state Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation hangar is at 1050 Meridian Drive, off International Drive on the north side of the airport. Visitors will be directed to park in nearby Lot 2 and take a shuttle bus to the hangar. To avoid airport traffic, take I-540 or Glenwood Avenue to Lumley Road to get to International Drive.
The airport’s Observation Park will be closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday while the Freedom Tour is in town.
For more information, go to www.collingsfoundation.org.