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Wings Of Freedom Tour Arrives In Pittsburgh

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(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

CRAWLEY Dave Crawley
Dave Crawley joined KDKA in April of 1988 where he reports on the...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A World War II fighter plane touches down at Allegheny County Airport.

The P-51 Mustang is one of three aircraft offering paid flights and tours. Passenger Jim Perry of Penn Hills says he got his money’s worth.

“A lot of loops. A lot of rolls. He let me fly it. Only did a bit of turning but it was great,” he said.

The Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour has also flown in a B-17 Flying Fortress and a B-24 Liberator. The two bombers have distinctive characteristics.

Mac McCauley has flown a record number of miles in the B-17 on the runway.

“The B-17 had a little bit more altitude capability,” he says, “because of its wing loading characteristics.”

Jayson Owen, who flies the only B-24 still capable of flight, says, “The advantage of the B-24 is because of the design and its wing, which is a Davis air foil. It could go faster, go farther and carry more to its destination.”

Most World War II bombers were scrapped when the war come to an end. The Collings Foundation rescued the warplanes and, with the help of veterans and their families, fixed them up to fly again. One of those veterans had flown both planes in combat.

Owen says, “I asked him which one did he like, and he said ‘Well, if I want to go farther and faster and carry more to the target I’ll take the B-24. If I want to get home, I’ll take the B-17.’”

The B-17 was able to take more punishment than its cousin.

As McCauley puts it: “A lot of guys would tell you the B-17 was made for the crew. The B-24 was made for the Air Force.”

Flights and tours at Allegheny County Airport take place Wednesday from 9 a.m. till noon. For reservations call 1-800-568-8924.

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