Vintage WWII Fighter Planes Have Arrived At Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, And You Can Take A Flight In One
History buffs and aviation enthusiasts will be flying high this weekend as a national tour of extremely rare WWII-era bomber and fighter planes makes a pit stop in Fort Lauderdale.
Restored to their original 1940s configuration, the aircrafts include the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine” WWII Heavy Bomber, Consolidated B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft” WWII Heavy Bomber, and P-51 Mustang fighter.
Those who want the chance to experience a piece of "living history" through the exhibit can head to the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport from Thursday, Jan. 21 to Sunday, Jan. 24. Visitors can gain an up-close look inside and outside of the aircraft for $12 per adult or $6 per child under 12.
WWII veterans can tour for free.
The Collings Foundation, the educational nonprofit behind the exhibit, has flown and displayed these aircraft nationally for the past 27 years because of both their rarity and importance in telling the story of WWII.
The B-17 aircraft is one of only eight of its kind still in flying condition in the world. Meanwhile, the B-24 and P-51 are the only remaining planes of their type. So few remain because, after WWII, many planes were scrapped for their raw aluminum with the aim of raising money to rebuild the country.
Part of the 110-city "Wings of Freedom Tour," the exhibit is considered a flying tribute to all those who worked on and benefited from these planes: the flight crews, the ground crews, the workers who built them, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and the citizens whose freedom they helped preserve.
For a true once-in-a-lifetime experience, a select few can take a 30-minute flight aboard these rare bomber planes. It's $450 per person for a half-hour ride on the B-17 or B-24—planes considered the backbone of the American war effort—and $2,200 per half-hour or $3,200 per hour for flights on the P-51, which saved crews from attacking Axis fighters during the war.
The planes will be on display at the airport's Banyan Pilot Shop. The aircraft will be available for ground tours from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
To reserve a flight experience, call 800.568.8924.
Banyan Pilot Shop at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport; 5320 NW 20th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale
(Lead photo courtesy Banyan Air Services. Other photos courtesy The Collings Foundation.)