Friday, September 18, 2020

Wings of Freedom Tour Comes to the Naples Airport


In honor of our WWII Veterans, the Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour brings extremely rare bomber and fighter aircraft for local living history display as part of 110-city nationwide tour.

WHAT:  Participating in the Collings Foundation’s WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR, B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine,” B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft” bombers and P-51 Mustang “Toulouse Nuts” fighter, will fly into Naples Municipal Airport in Naples, Florida for a visit from January 24th to 27th. This is a rare opportunity to visit, explore, and learn more about these unique and rare treasures of aviation history. The B-17 is one of only nine in flying condition in the United States. The B-24J Liberator is the sole remaining example of its type flying in the World. The P-51 “Toulouse Nuts” fighter received the prestigious Grand Champion Award for restoration. Visitors are invited to explore the aircraft inside and out – $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12 is requested for access to up-close viewing and tours through the inside of the aircraft. Discounted rates for school groups. Visitors may also experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually take a 30-minute flight aboard these rare aircraft. Flights on either the B-17 or B-24 are $450 per person. Get some “stick time” in the world’s greatest fighter! P-51 flight training is $2,400 for a half hour and $3,400 for a full hour. For reservations and information on flight experiences call 800-568-8924.

WHERE: The WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR will be on display at the Naples Municipal Airport located on the main ramp, 500 Terminal Drive (off of North Road).

WHEN: The WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR will arrive at Naples Airport at 2 PM on Thursday, January 24th and will be on display until the aircraft departs after 4 PM operations Sunday, January 27th. Hours of ground tours and display are: 2 PM to 4 PM, Thursday, January 24th, 9 AM to 4 PM on Friday, January 25th, and 10 AM to 4 PM on both Saturday and Sunday, January 26th and 27th. The 30-minute flight experiences are normally scheduled before and after the ground tour times above.

WHO: The Collings Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational foundation devoted to organizing “living history” events that allows people to learn more about their heritage and history through direct participation. The Nationwide WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR is celebrating its 30th year and visits an average of 110 cities in over 35 states annually. Since its start, tens of millions of people have seen the B-17, B-24 & P-51 display at locations everywhere. The WINGS OF FREEDOM tour is one of the most extraordinary and unique interactive traveling historical displays of its kind.

WHY: 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. The B-17 & B-24 were the backbone of the American effort during the war from 1942 to 1945 and were famous for their ability to sustain damage and still accomplish the mission. Despite the risks of anti-aircraft fire, attacking enemy fighters, and the harrowing environment of sub-zero temperatures, many B-17s and B-24s safely brought their crews home. The P-51 Mustang was affectionately known as the bombers “Little Friend” – saving countless crews from attacking axis fighters. After the war, many aircraft were scrapped for their raw aluminum to rebuild a nation in post-war prosperity and therefore very few were spared. The rarity of the B-17, B-24 & P-51 – and their importance to telling the story of WWII is why the Collings Foundation continues to fly and display the aircraft nationwide. At each location we encourage local veterans and their families to visit and share their experiences and stories with the public. For aviation enthusiasts, the tour provides opportunity for the museum to come to the visitor and not the other way around!

Visitors can find out more by visiting our website at www.collingsfoundation.org

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