The City of McKinney, Texas will be host to an unprecedented collection of historic World War II aircraft October 3 – 6 when the Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) iconic B-29 Superfortress FIFI – the only flying B-29 in the world – visits Collin County Regional Airport accompanied by over 20 historic military aircraft.
The event starts Thursday, October 3 with B-29 and B-24 rides for a group of former World War II Airmen.
SOME STORY HIGHLIGHTS OF THE EVENT:
· VETERAN ORAL HISTORIES
It has been almost 70 years since Fiske Hanley flew as a flight engineer in the B-29 Superfortress. He became a prisoner of war classified by the Japanese as an “accused American war criminal.” On Thursday, October 3, Fiske will return to the sky as a passenger in the cockpit of FIFI, the only flying B-29 in the world. The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) will unite Hanley and several other veterans (see a sample of bios below) with combat aircraft from World War II for one more flight – this time in friendlier skies.
· FIRST FEMALE B-29 PILOT SINCE WORLD WAR II
The B-29 Superfortress will be flown by Dallas residents Tom Travis and Debbie King. Debbie, a professional pilot, is the third woman ever to be checked out to fly in a B-29 and the only woman since World War II. Even more interesting is Tom and Debbie are father and daughter, both with a passion for flying these old airplanes. See more about Debbie King and David Oliver at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79oeLsZcY7A&sns=em
· YOUNGEST PILOT IN THE CAF IS AIRCRAFT COMMANDER IN THE B-29
Also flying the B-29 during the AirPower Expo is CAF pilot David Oliver. Oliver first flew the B-29 just two years ago at age 29. See more about David in this video from EAA AirVenture 2012. http://www.eaavideo.org/video.aspx?v=1143348987001
· JUNIOR SPEEDMAIL INSPIRES YOUTH FASCINATION FOR AVIATION
The magic and excitement of aviation in the 1930s has been reborn by visionary Sarah Wilson who will accompany the tour in McKinney with her Stearman Speedmail – one of many Youth educational exhibits planned for the event.
In the 1930s airplanes, air races, speed records, and long distance flights were in the newspaper almost every day and kids were fascinated with flying and “airplane crazy.” Pilots named Lindbergh, Doolittle, and Earhart were real life heroes but there were other aviation heroes who came right into America’s living rooms each night over the radio.
Originally delivered to the Richfield Oil Company on October 28, 1929, Sarah Wilson’s 1929 Stearman Speedmail was the flagship for the Jimmie Allen Flying Club based on the popular radio program The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen. The Jimmie Allen radio series and Flying Club were important tools and greatly influenced the generation that would fly in WWII.
This 1929 airplane is the oldest surviving Stearman Model 4 Speedmail and is a real life celebrity vehicle. This plane made public appearances across the country with the actor Jimmie Allen in the front seat to meet members of the Jimmie Allen Flying Club AND was actually flown by Charles Lindbergh on April 2, 1930 at Burbank Airport in California. Based in Lakeland, Florida, the airplane is owned and flown by Sarah Wilson. More information about Sarah and her airplane can be found at www.SarahWilsonPilot.com.
· RECORD NUMBER OF WARBIRDS/VINTAGE AIRCRAFT AVAILABLE FOR RIDES
This collection of aircraft is probably the largest number of airplanes in which rides are being offered to ever be assembled in the Dallas Metroplex. Rides will be available in over a dozen different airplanes including four of the most widely used bombers in World War II. Advance reservations are recommended and can be made at www.AirPowerExpo.org.
ABOUT THE EVENT
WHERE: Collin County Regional Airport, 1500 E. Industrial Blvd., McKinney, TX
WHEN: Thursday, October 3 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, October 4 – 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 5 – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, October 6 – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
COST: $15 per person, $25 for families – Mom, Dad and their kids age 17 and under. Children age 10 and under free. FREE B-29 and B-24 cockpit tours, educational exhibits and swing band concerts included with paid admission.
RIDES: Rides are available in almost all of the attending aircraft. Advance ride reservations are recommended and can be made at www.AirPowerExpo.org. Rides are also sold at the event and all of the airplanes except the B-29 fly on demand. The B-29 will fly at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
FISKE HANLEY was a B-29 Flight Engineer in the Army Air Force and became a special prisoner of war known as an "Accused American War Criminal" by the Japanese Kempei Tai Military Police. He is the author of three books; Accused American War Criminal; History of the 504th Bomb Group in WWII; and The 20th Air Force Album.
ROBERT LEE SWOFFORD flew a B-24 on D-Dày in Normandy. One of his missions is depicted in the movie The Longest Day. His aircraft was responsible for bombing a bridge which kept additional German forces from reaching the beaches. Swofford was a Lead Pilot and Squad Leader of Bomb Group 445. He earned 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses with Oak Leaf Clusters and six Air Medals, including French Legion of Honor.
ROBERT LUCAS served in the Army Air Corps as a B-24 pilot. He was shot down during his 14th Mission and interned in Switzerland. He escaped, dressed as a woman aboard a train where he was seated next to a Swiss officer. Eventually, he made his way to London where he was given a leave. He received two Air Medals and the Certificate of Valor.
LESTER HARPER, age 96, was a B-24 pilot and was one of the first to fly the China Hump without Radar. He flew 79 Missions in very hazardous conditions.
OSCAR BUSHWAR was a fighter pilot who flew 50 combat missions (250 combat hours). He flew the P-51 Mustang. Stationed in Italy, he escorted B-17s and B-24s over Germany. He earned 7 Bronze Stars w/ four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross and 16 others.
Additional information about the event can be found at www.AirPowerExpo.org.
Download event press releases here: http://www.airpowersquadron.org/#!media/c153t
See more about Debbie King and David Oliver at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79oeLsZcY7A&sns=em