BURLINGTON — Pieces of American military history rumbled into Skagit County on Wednesday as the Collings Foundation brought several classic war planes to Skagit Regional Airport.
The annual Wings of Freedom tour touched down Wednesday afternoon on one of its 109 stops this season.
The tour features several restored aircraft from World War II, including a B-25 Mitchell, a P-51 Mustang, a B-17 Flying Fortress and a B-24J Liberator — the last of its kind in flying condition.
Through Friday, visitors will have the chance to get an up-close look at some of the iconic bombers and fighter aircraft that were instrumental in the war’s outcome.
Jack Hubbard, 96, came out to see the planes, although he wasn’t going to take a ride in them. He said he got his fill of riding in the B-17 when he was stationed as a tail-gunner in the plane with the 8th Air Force over England.
The planes, referred to as Flying Fortresses because of their heavy armaments, were safe and reliable aircraft, even if they were a little uncomfortable, he said.
“The thing I like about it best is they’re what got me to England where I met my wife, who was in the British Air Force,” he said.
Known for its participation in the 1942 Doolittle raids over Tokyo, the B-25 is the “sportier” aircraft, in comparison to the B-17, pilot Kristian Riese said.
Its speed is one of the reasons Riese volunteers to pilot it along the tour.
“It’s like a sports car,” Riese said. “But it’s also the nostalgia.”
Aircraft tours are $15 for adults and $5 for children younger than 12. Flights in the B-17 and B-24 are available for $450 per person for a half hour, while flights in the B-25 are available for $400 per person for a half hour.
Flight training in the P-51 Mustang is available for $2,200 for a half hour and $3,200 for an hour.
For more information, visit cfdn.org.