Updated: 07/09/2014 10:43 PM
Created: 07/09/2014 5:13 PM WDIO.com
By: Maarja Anderson
Rare pieces of World War II history have flown into the Northland and are now on display for the public to see up close.
Eyewitness News was next to the runway to catch the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator landing at the Richard I. Bong Airport. The P-51 Mustang fighter is expected to arrive in Superior later Wednesday.
The trio of aircraft make up the Collings Foundation's Wings of Freedom tour. Ryan Keough is their ride coordinator. He said they've toured the country for 25 years, stopping in 110 communities throughout the year.
Keough call the aircraft flying museums. When the Liberator was in commission during World War II in 1944, the aircraft would have been flying in a formation with 500 other aircraft.
"It was used to cripple the Axis war effort from internally. It used to bomb factories, air fields, ship pens, that kind of thing," explained Keough.
And to see this Liberator up close is pretty rare.
"Out of over 18,000 aircraft built, it is the last one in flying condition and only about 1 of 20 air frames in museums around the country," he said.
The B-17 is 1 of eight still flying in the U.S.
Alan White with the local Experimental Aircraft Association is helping out with the tour while it's in Superior. He's flown in a B-17 before and said it's an experience he won't forget.
"It is a thrill. You just sit there and you start thinking of all the stories that you heard about the people who flew these airplanes," said White.
Some folks will get the chance to do the same this week while the planes are in Superior. Flights in the rare aircraft are available. On either the B-17 or B-24 flights are $450 per person.
The grounds at the Richard I. Bong Airport are open Thursday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. until noon. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for kids.
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