Honor Flight - Honor Flags - and WWII Planes Public Exhibit - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Honor Flight - Honor Flags - and WWII Planes Public Exhibit

THE HONOR FLIGHT WWII AIRCRAFT DISPLAY

(Friday and Saturday, 12 and 13 September)

Honor Flight Tennessee Valley will be hosting two WWII Aircraft on this Friday and Saturday, 12 and 13 September. A C-47 and B-25 aircraft will be arriving during the early afternoon on this Friday, and be available for Public viewing from 3PM until 7PM at Signature Aviation. Free parking is available on the Tarmac. The planes will also be available for Public viewing on Saturday at Signature Aviation from 8AM until 10AM. They will be departing Huntsville shortly after 10AM. Free parking will be just outside the gate at Signature Aviation.  Funding for this event was donated by The Boeing Company; and the NDIA Tennessee Valley Chapter.

You do not want to miss seeing these aircraft up close. They are very, very special aircraft.

The C-47 is a very famous aircraft and it is very special to have it with us for the Honor Flight Weekend in North Alabama. If you were or are a paratrooper or if you just like to see real WWII aircraft - you will want to see and sit in the actual plane that flew in and dropped paratroopers on the D-Day invasion of Normandy. It later was THE ONLY US aircraft that flew back to Europe 50 years later and again dropped 26 WWII Veteran paratroopers (all of them were then in their 70s) in a re-enactment of the Normandy invasion - during it's 50th anniversary in 1994. To add to that, it was later outfitted with skis and pulled a lost WWII P-38 aircraft out of the ice in Greenland.  This particular C-47 is an extremely special and very famous aircraft.

The B-25 Aircraft - is the type used by Doolitte's Raiders in the raid on Japan - the United States' response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. You do not want to miss seeing this plane.

Admission is free and the public is invited to see these planes.

Information on the planes is as follows:

Douglas C47 "Skytrain" - The Douglas C47 Skytrain was the military version of the DC-3. The DC-3 was the airplane that made airlines practical and profitable in the late 1930s. With the outbreak of World War II, they were available and proven. Every branch of the service used them but the majority went to the Army Air Force where they were used to transport troops, supplies, drop paratroopers, tow gliders and medivac sick or wounded troops. By the end of the war, over 10,000 had been built and hundreds are still in use throughout the world today.

This particular aircraft, serial number 42-92606 (Douglas serial number 12425) rolled out of the Douglas plant in Oklahoma City in January 1944. It went to the RAF under lend lease and made it to Europe in time to take part in D-Day (the Normandy Invasion). It later took part in Operation Market Garden ( The Bridge too Far ) where it initially towed a glider in and then did 7 low level resupply drops to our surrounded troops where one third of its squadron war lost to ground  and AA fire. It then took part in the largest airborne operation of the war, Operation Varsity (the crossing of the Rhine into Germany).

After World War II, this aircraft went to Canada as a navigational trainer for NATO forces and was used by the RCAF until the late 60s when it was sold as surplus. It changed hands several times with very little use until it was totally rebuilt in 1986 by Basler Aviation of Oshkosh, WI. It then hauled air cargo until being bought by Brooks Aviation, Inc. of Douglas, GA in late 1988. It was fitted with snow skis and used by the Greenland Expedition Society of Atlanta in the summers of 1989, 1990 and 1992 in their search for the "Lost Squadron" and the eventual recovery of a P38 "Lightening" from 270 feet deep in the Greenland Ice Cap. This aircraft was painted in its wartime colors/markings in 1994 and flown back to France where it took in the multinational ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of D-Day. It was the only plane from the USA that took part in the invasion that flew back 50 years later where it again dropped 26 veteran D-Day paratroopers over SteMere Eglise, France as a salute to their comrades that did not make it home.

B-25:

North American B-25 "Mitchell" Bomber ; The B25 was a premier Medium Bomber of World War II. It became famous when it was used by Col. Doolittle early during WWII to bomb Tokyo, Japan. Just after the Pear Harbour attach, the USA declared war on Japan and the Japanese leadership assured their people that US bombs would never fall on the central islands of Japan. With US forces in shambles and very little to fight with in the Pacific Theatre, a plan was devised to launce 16 land based B-25 Bombers off of the USS Hornet. The plan worked and the B25s bombed targets throughout Japan. It was a great boost of morale to the people and troops of America at a time when it was badly needed.

This B25 is painted in North African camouflage as used by the USAAF in that area. It has the nose art of "Killer-Bee" and is owned and operated by Tom Reilly of Douglas, GA.

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