Commemorative Air Force brings history, including a B-29, to Niagara Falls
(Tribune News Service) The sights, sounds, and stories of World War II aviation will come to life in Niagara Falls when the B-29 Superfortress “FiFi” and the B-24 Liberator “Diamond Lil” land at Niagara Falls International Airport, accompanied by a T-6 Texan and a PT-13 Stearman. The P-51 Mustang “Gunfighter” also will be making an appearance.
The event is presented by the Commemorative Air Force, which brings its AirPower History Tour to airports across North America each year. Visitors will be able to view all aircraft up close, purchase rides, and tour the B-29 and B-24 cockpits when the aircraft are not flying.
The B-29 and B-24 are scheduled to arrive at noon on Monday. Accompanying aircraft are scheduled to arrive Monday as well. The P-51 will arrive Friday, July 2 at noon.
Media will have the opportunity to film the aircraft upon arrival, interview crew and tour the aircraft.
From Wednesday through July 5 the event will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The T-6 and PT-13 will be offering rides each day. The P-51 will be offering rides beginning at 1 p.m. Friday. The B-29 flies on Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. The B-24 flies on Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Cockpit tours of the B-29 and B-24 will be available each day beginning at 9 a.m., except on Saturday, Sunday and Monday when they will begin at noon.
The aircraft involved:
B-29 SUPERFORTRESS “FIFI” — The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the largest and most technically advanced aircraft of its time, was first flown in 1942. It began active service in the US Army Air Corp in 1944 and is best known as the aircraft whose missions over Japan helped bring an end to World War II. The B-29 also was used in the Korean War in the early 1950s and was a staple of the U.S. Air Force until 1960. “FIFI”, one of only two B-29’s in the world still flying, was acquired by the CAF in 1971. She began touring in 1974 and has been entertaining air show audiences across the country ever since.
B-24 LIBERATOR “DIAMOND LIL” — The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was the most produced American warplane of WWII with over 18,400 aircraft rolling off assembly lines across the country. Most were manufactured at Ford’s giant Willow Run assembly plant in Detroit. Diamond Lil, one of the first B-24’s produced and still one of only two B-24s in the world still flying provides the opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of our fathers and grandfathers in the dangerous air wars over Europe, the Pacific, North Africa and Asia.
P-51 MUSTANG — The North American P-51D Mustang is one of the most recognizable and loved aircraft in aviation history. With its speed, range, and sleek lines, the P-51 became a favorite of Allied fighter pilots and bomber crews. The long-range fighter aircraft had a range of 1,300 miles that enabled it to accompany the bombers to their targets and back, and it was faster and more maneuverable than its German and Japanese opponents.
T-6 TEXAN — The North American T-6 Texan, known as the “Pilotmaker”, was an advanced flight trainer that introduced new pilots to a complex aircraft with more speed of over 200-plus miles per hour, to prepare them for the warbirds they would fly in combat in WWII. The T-6 was designed for an instructor and student and had a closed cockpit.
PT-13 STEARMAN — The Boeing PT-13 was the primary flight trainer for all branches of the military during World War II. This iconic bi-plane, almost universally known as the “Stearman”, trained more crews than any other aircraft in WWII. A ride in this open cockpit airplane brings back the wind-in-your hair feeling of the early days of flying.
Through more than six decades of collecting and flying World War II aircraft, the Commemorative Air Force has become the world’s largest flying museum. The more than 170 World War II airplanes are assigned to unit locations across the U.S. and are supported by 12,000 volunteer members. Nearly all the aircraft are kept in flying condition, enabling people to experience firsthand the sight and sound of vintage military aircraft in flight. The CAF is dedicated to honoring American military aviation through flight, exhibition, education, and remembrance.
To learn more about the Commemorative Air Force, please visit www.commemorativeairforce.org.
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