HOUSTON, TX – Bringing some rare aviation history to our backyard, the Wings of Freedom Tour lands at Ellington Field, where the Collings Foundation honors our World War II and Vietnam veterans.
Pilot Jim Harley explains, “Once the Mustang started escorting bombers to all parts of Germany and Japan we gained air superiority. And the air war was won, which led to the ground forces being able to penetrate deep into Germany and Japan. Basically it won the war.”
So what’s it feel like to fly a piece of history like the P-51 Mustang? Jim says, “It’s hard to describe flying a P-51, I think of it as a magic carpet with machine guns.”
But why take his word for it? He adds, “We also offer rides in the aircraft. So not can you only come out and look at them, you can go for a flight. You actually get to fly it. You get to take the controls, and we can do loops or rolls or whatever you want to do in a P-51.”
For those that prefer solid ground, visitors can get right up inside the belly of this B-17 and see where our greatest generation dropped a little freedom all over the Axis Powers.
World War II enthusiast Jason Barnett says, “the B-17’s have always been my favorite. These turrets and these things it’s crazy, it’s just neat to see… to know that someone actually had to sit inside of that and getting shot at is kinda a crazy thing.”
Many of these planes were scrapped for their raw materials, but the Collings Foundation continues to fly these rare aircraft nationwide to help tell the stories of these heroes and make sure their bravery is never forgotten.