World War II-Era Planes Land In Butler Co. For ‘Bomber Week’

BUTLER, Pa. (KDKA) — Two World War II-era planes have landed in Western Pennsylvania.

Two more will follow on Tuesday as part of “Bomber Week” at the airport in Butler County, and you can take a tour of the planes and even go for a ride.

They huddled in a tent as a drenching rain pounded the tarmac at Pittsburgh – Butler Regional Airport on Monday, awaiting the arrival of four vintage aircraft that helped win World War II.

The P-51 Mustang, the B-24, the B-25, and the famed B-17 Flying Fortress.

Sons were proudly remembering their fathers.

“They basically went to war at 18, 19 years of age, and didn’t know if they’d come back. Luckily, my dad came back because he had seven kids after he came back,” said Ed Monteverde.

“My father was a master sergeant of a flight crew that maintained a B-24 bomber,” Joe Smeltzer said. “His plane flew more consecutive bombing missions over Europe without a turnback due to mechanical failure than any other plane.”

World War II veteran Paul Misera was shot down in a B-24.

“Shrapnel shot us down, shot the engines out,” said Misera. “We only had two engines, and the third one was gone, and we had to bail out, couldn’t make it back.”

They bailed out over Belgium, which was Allied territory.

The first to arrive at the airport was the B-25, followed closely by the B-17. The magnificent warbirds, painstaking restored, are part of the Wings of Freedom Tour.

“We’ve been doing this since 1989, and we started as a way to get veterans reconnected with their aircraft,” said Jamie Mitchell, the flight coordinator for the Collings Foundation. “Then, we kind of turned into a flying memorial for family members, and that’s all about honoring their loved ones that have passed on.”

A half hour ride on one of the bombers will range from $400 to $450. That sounds like an awful lot until you realize it costs $5,000 an hour to keep one of them in the air.

For more information on “Bomber Week at Pittsburgh – Butler Regional Airport, visit their website here.

Tours of the planes are $12 for adults and $6 for children.

On Wednesday, the planes will move to Jimmy Stewart Field in Indiana, Pennsylvania for three days.

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