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The Commons
Life and Work

Wings of Freedom Tour brings vintage warbirds to Keene's Dillant-Hopkins Airport

Originally published in The Commons issue #426 (Wednesday, September 20, 2017).



From Sept. 25 to 27, The Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour will bring some rare World War II aircraft to a local living history display at Dillant-Hopkins Airport. Aircraft will be located at Monadnock Aviation, 80 Airport Drive.

Participating in the Collings Foundation’s Wings of Flight are three bombers — a B-17 Flying Fortress, “Nine O Nine”; a B-24J Liberator, “Witchcraft”; and a B-25 Mitchell, “Tondelayo.” They will be joined by a P-51 Mustang fighter, “Toulouse Nuts.” This is a rare opportunity to visit, explore, and learn more about these unique treasures of aviation history.

Visitors are invited to explore the aircraft inside and out — $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12 is requested for access to up-close viewing and tours inside the aircraft. Discounted rates are available for school groups.

Visitors also may take 30-minute flights aboard these rare aircraft. Flights on either the B-17 or B-24 are $450 per person. P-51 flight training is $2,200 for a half hour and $3,200 for a full hour. B-25 flights are $400 per person. For reservations and information on flight experiences call 800-568-8924.

The planes will arrive at noon on Sept. 25, and will be on display until the aircraft depart after operations Sept. 27. Hours of ground tours and display are noon to 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 25; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 26, and 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Sept. 27. The 30-minute flight experiences are normally scheduled before and after the ground-tour hours.

The Collings Foundation is a nonprofit educational foundation devoted to organizing “living history” events that allow people to learn more about their heritage and history through direct participation. The Wings of Freedom Tour travels the nation as a flying tribute to the flight crews who flew them in World War II, the ground crews who maintained them, the workers who built them, the soldiers, sailors, and airmen they helped protect, and the citizens and families that share the freedom that they helped preserve.

Many aircraft after the war were scrapped for their raw aluminum. The rarity of the B-17, B-25, B-24, and P-51 — and their importance to the story of World War II — is why the Collings Foundation continues to fly and display the aircraft nationwide.

At each location, they encourage local veterans and their families to visit and share their experiences and stories with the public. For aviation enthusiasts, the tour provides opportunity for the museum to come to the visitor and not the other way around. Visitors can find out more by visiting www.collingsfoundation.org.

For further information e-mail Hunter Chaney, director of marketing: hchaney@collingsfoundation.org or 800-568-8924.

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