Aviation aficionados of the state of Minnesota are in for a special treat as the Wings of Freedom exhibition settles in for a tour stop this week (7/15-7/17 St. Paul, 7/17-7/20 Minneapolis). Celebrating its 20th season, the tour grants communities across the United States a chance to experience every aspect of authentically restored B-17, B-24, and P-51 WWII fighter planes. Supporter donations not only help the Collins Foundation to continue to preserve these historic air crafts but they also allow visitors the experience of a lifetime with these legendary well designed machines. There are activities to appease every budget from walk-through tours to in-flight experiences or flight training. Visit the Wings of Freedom website for details on donation packages and to find out when the tour stops in a city near you.
For a comprehensive look at the history of the B-17, viewers can enjoy the Janson Media DVD B-17: Flying Legend. Produced by Fortress Films, B-17: Flying Legend examines the importance of WWII’s most famous airplane and raises awareness about the importance of keeping the remaining B-17s flying for generations to come. It covers the history of the airplane, and the stories of brave men who flew them, and looks at the people today who struggle to keep these flying museums in operation. Almost 13,000 B-17s were built during the war. Sixty years later only 13 still fly. Unless awareness is created to help with this preservation, in the near future B-17s will only be found in static displays. For more information, please visit the B-17: Flying Legend homepage.
The purpose of the Collings Foundation is to organize and support “living history” events that enable Americans to learn more about their heritage through direct participation. The original focus of the Foundation was transportation-related events such as antique car rallies, hill climbs, carriage and sleight rides, along with a winter ice-cutting festival in Stow, MA areas. During the mi-eighties, these activities were broadened to include aviation-related events such as air shows, barnstorming, historical reunions, Wings of Freedom Tour, Vietnam Memorial Flights, and joint museum displays.