Originally published in the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor.
Turn back the clock and kick up your heels at the 40s Fly In this weekend at the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport. Our local airport has been chosen as one of 110 stops for the Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour.
Collings Foundation works to preserve aviation history by touring the country with WWII aircraft. During this three-day event, the public can get up close and personal with three rare WWII era aircraft.
First up, the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine” WWW II heavy bomber. There are only nine of these bombers still in flying condition. Also flying in for the event, the Consolidated B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft” WWII heavy bomber and the Dual Control P-51 Mustang, both the sole remaining examples of their type of WWII aircraft.
From Friday through Sunday, the public will have the opportunity to visit, explore and learn about these aircraft and the rich American history they represent. Visitors can even go inside these planes to get and up-close and personal view of aviation history.
For an even more intimate, one-in-a-lifetime experience, visitors may of take a 30-minute flight aboard these rare aircraft. Flight experiences are a tax-deductible donation. The price to fly in the B-17 or B-24 is $425 per person. The P-51 flights are $2200 for 30 minutes or $3200 for a full hour. For reservations call (800) 568-8924.
Wings of Freedom ground tours and display hours are Friday, July 9, from 2 p.m. through 5 p.m., Saturday, July 10, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, July 11 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Adults are asked to donate a $12 entry fee. Thanks to a local benefactor, children 12 and under are free with a paying adult.
In addition to the planes, there will be airport open house on Saturday where area residents can learn about the importance of the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport to the local economy, the businesses its supports and the other vital uses of the airport including firefighting and patient transport. There will also be opportunities to meet with the local aviation community. The open house is a free event.
On Sunday, the local American Legion Riders will display 75 vintage motorcycles alongside the WWII aircraft. Parking at the airport is free and the motorcycle display is free, but a $12 donation is requested to participate in touring the aircrafts.
In addition to the Wings of Freedom Tour, on Friday evening the airport will play host to a ’40’s USO-style Hanger Dinner and Dance. From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. participants will be transported back in time with music provided by the Joe Peterson Dance orchestra, dinner and dancing.
The evening will also include local Northern Colorado veterans’ stories told by real storytellers. Patrons are encouraged to dress in ’40’s costumes, military or civilian, and sport their dancing shoes. Learn more and purchase tickets at www.40sflyin.com.
The weekend event raises money for Collings Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 1979, to support “living history” events that enable Americans to learn about their heritage through direct participation.
Originally focusing on car related events, during the mid-eighties the group broadened their reach to include aviation events such as air shows, barnstorming, historical reunions and joint museum displays. Since 1989, Collings Foundations major focus has been the Veterans’ “Wings of Freedom Tour.” Learn more about the foundation by visiting their Web site at www.collingsfoundation.org.
Heidi M. Kerr-Schlaefer is a contributing writer at the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor.