WWII aircraft fly into Minden | RecordCourier.com

WWII aircraft fly into Minden

A B-17 Flying Fortress is framed between the propellers of a P-51 Mustang at last year's Wings of Freedom Tour at the Minden-Tahoe Airport.
Jim Grant | The Record-Courier

Four 70-year old World War II aircraft roared out of the 1940s and landed at Minden-Tahoe Airport on Monday.

Visitors swarmed the B-17 Flying Fortress, a B-24 Liberator, a B-25 Mitchell and a P-51 Mustang not long after they touched down at the airport.

Jim Harley lead pilot said he flew the P-51 Mustang on Monday, but that he’s qualified to fly any of the aircraft.

“They’re all great, but they’re all different,” he said. “There’s no training program for them now. You start in the second seat and then move to the first seat when you’re ready.

The B-24 Liberator saw action with the Royal Air Force. B-17 Flying Fortress was built at the end of the war and had been used for air-sea rescue.

The P-51 Mustang, built in 1943, is one of fewer than five operating in the world and the only with full dual controls.

“When you’re riding in it, you get to take the controls,” Harley said.

The four aircraft will be available at Minden-Tahoe Airport 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. to noon today.

For up-close viewing and a tour through the aircraft, the cost is $12 for adults and $6 for children.

Harley said the Collings Foundation is a nonprofit educational organization. Tours help defray the cost of fuel. All the pilots are volunteers.

The tour visits more than 110 cities in 35 states every year.

Airport Manager Bobbi Thompson said she was impressed by the turnout on Monday to see the planes.

“What a great way to honor our veterans on the 70th anniversary of D-Day,” she said.

The planes will be at Stead Field in Reno Wednesday through Friday, which is the anniversary of the June 6, 1944, invasion of Europe.

For the schedule visit http://www.collingsfoundation.org.

Visitors can take a 30-minute flight aboard the B24 for $400, or the B-17 and B-24 for $450 per person. The P-51 flights are $2,200 for a half hour and $3,200 for a full hour.

Flights take place before and after tours. Call 978-562-9182 for flight reservations.