A piece of history is taking over the friendly skies at the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport this week. For the first time in almost ten years, the tour returns to the area.
The ‘Wings of Freedom’ tour, hosted by the Collings Foundation, makes Bay County the third stop out of a 110 city nationwide tour. The tour exhibits aircraft including the P-51 Mustang ‘Toulouse Nuts’ fighter.
Pattie Lyday-Puckett, 71, from Dothan, AL just crossed off another item from her bucket list by taking the P-51 for a ride.
“It’s worth every dime! And a once in a lifetime experience. He did a flip, he turned the plane completely over!,” she said.
A bomber plane that’s also on the tarmac is the B-17 Flying Fortress ‘Nine-O-Nine’. It’s one of the only nine in flying condition in the U.S.
Some visitors also explored the cramped space inside the B-24 Liberator ‘Witchcraft’ bomber.
“The B-24 is actually less significantly known, but it’s way more important. More veterans served on a B-24 than any aircraft during the war,” said Flight Coordinator, Jamie Mitchell.
“You got one little seat to sit on and then getting in the gunner’s position and there’s not a whole lot of room,” added Ted Miskovich from Wakefield, Michigan.
Mitchell says this tour also reminds visitors of those who risked their lives to serve. “They just want to see people to continue to appreciate the sacrifices that were made to give us what we have these days. Maybe it will inspire people to take a little bit more interest in the well-being of this country,” she said.
The Wings of Freedom tour continues tomorrow, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Admission is $15 for adults, and $5 for kids.