WWII planes coming to Shelby County Airport

By KATIE HURST/ Staff Writer

CALERA — Shelby County residents will be able to take a flight into the past this weekend onboard three vintage WWII aircrafts coming to the Shelby County Airport.

The Collings Foundation is bringing the Wings of Freedom Tour to the airport Oct. 29-Nov. 1 and will feature a Boeing B-17, consolidated B-24 and dual control P-51 Mustang. Ground tours and flight experiences will be available all weekend.

Johnny Ward, a pilot at the airport who helped organize the display, said the opportunity to view and potentially ride on these planes is extremely rare. The B-17 is one of only 11 that remain in flying condition in the United States. The B-24 and P-51 are the sole remaining examples of their type flying in the world.

“This is a chance to see extremely unique airplanes and actually get to see them fly,” he said. “The Collings Foundation told me this stop was the most successful weekend on their tour last year. We want to be the same this year.”

Shelby County WWII veterans who piloted similar planes in the war will be on hand during the weekend to tell stories of their time flying, Ward said.

The planes will arrive at the airport at 2 p.m. Oct. 29 and the public is invited to attend and view their arrival for free, Ward said.

Ground tours of the planes will cost $12 for adults and $6 for children under 12. Thirty-minute flights aboard the B-17 or B-24 cost $425 a person and flights onboard the P-51 cost $2,200 for a half hour or $3,200 for a full hour. For reservations of more information call 800-568-8924.