WWII Warbirds Coming to Valparaiso

Wings-of-Freedom-1Next month, three World War II aircraft will fly into Porter County Municipal Airport as part of the Collings Foundation “Wings of Freedom Tour.” The 110 city tour pays tribute to America’s war effort from 1942 to 1945.
The aircraft will arrive at 2 p.m. and will be on display until 5 p.m. on Monday, July 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 27 and 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, July 28. Porter County Municipal Airport is located off US 30 at 4207 Murvihill Road, east of Valparaiso.

The warbirds include heavy bombers Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine” and Consolidated B-24J Liberator “Witchcraft,” and the escort fighter P-51C Mustang “Betty Jane.” The B-17G is one of only nine in flying condition in the United States, and the B-24J and dual-control P-51C Mustang are the sole remaining examples of their type flying in the world. The B-17 was the companion of the B-24 in thousands of wartime bombing and reconnaissance missions. Together they were the backbone of the daylight strategic bombing campaign of WWII.

The P-51C Mustang is named “Betty Jane” to honor Colonel Charles M. McCorkle, an “ace” fighter pilot and commander with 11 confirmed kills under his belt – six of them in a P-51 named “Betty Jane”. “Betty Jane” is in the tour as a representative of the “little friends” that engaged the German fighters as the huge bomber formations flew toward enemy targets, saving countless bomber crew lives.


A $12 donation for adults and $6 for children ages 12 and under is requested for up-close viewing and tours. Ground tours are free to WWII veterans. Flight experiences are available in all aircraft for a tax-deductible donation of $425 per person for the B-17 or B-24 and $2,200 for a half hour in the P-51, or $3,200 for a full hour. To make a flight reservation call 800-568-8924.

The Collings Foundation is a non-profit, educational foundation created to organize and support American “living history” events. The Wings of Freedom Tour’s two goals are to honor the sacrifices made by our veterans, and educate visitors, especially young people, about our national history and heritage. The Foundation depends solely upon private funding from individual donations and corporate sponsors. More information is available at www.cfdn.org or by calling 800-568-8924.

Check out this video from last year's Wings of Freedom tour, to get a taste of the experience!