World War II Aircraft to Land in San Angelo
SAN ANGELO, TX — You’ll hear the low rumble of radial engines at around noon today. Three vintage World War II combat aircraft will fly in to Mathis Field just after noon today.
Update April 2 at 2 p.m.: From the warbird pilots: "The big rule we have regarding the Wings of Freedom tour aircraft - If we can't see where we are going - we don't fly. Well, looks like one of those days were this rule applies. We will be flying in once the weather clears to San Angelo to Dallas. - Possibly landing around 10 a.m. Tuesday."
As part of the Collings Foundation’s 2018 Wings of Freedom Tour, these rare birds will stop in San Angelo as part of the foundation’s 110-city nationwide tour.
Expected to arrive today at 12:30 p.m. is a B-17 Flying Fortress christened “Nine O Nine”; a B-24 Liberator christened “Witchcraft”; a B-25 Mitchell christened “Tondelayo”; and a P-51 Mustang, this one christened the “Toulouse Nuts.”
The B-17 is one of only nine still flying today. The bomber, used extensively in the daytime bombing of Germany during World War II, was designed and manufactured by Boeing. The first versions were manufactured before the war, in 1938, 80 years ago. There were 12,731 built during the war years. The last B-17 that was operational was retired in 1968. It was a part of the Brazilian Air Force.
The B-24 is most famous for its use during the Ploiesti, Romania campaign, called Operation Tidal Wave. Launching out of Egypt in June 1943, B-24s destroyed Axis oil storage and refinery capabilities. There were 54 of the 177 B-24s lost in the low level bombing attack on the Petro-Oil-Lubrication, or POL facilities there. And, despite the losses, the bombers destroyed their targets. Five crewmembers including the 98th Bomb Group Commander, Col. John Riley “Killer” Kane, were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions on those missions.