Morrison, IL — Four vintage World War II era aircraft, part of the “The Wings of Freedom Tour,” landed at the Whiteside County Airport this week, much to the delight of over 600 visitors who came out to participate in this “living history” event. Presented by the Collings Foundation, the “Wings of Freedom Tour” honors the sacrifices made by our veterans that allow us to enjoy our freedom; and to educate visitors, especially younger Americans, about our national history and heritage.
The four aircraft included the B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine;” the B-24J Liberator, “Witchcraft;” the B-25 Mitchell bomber “Tondelayo;” and the P-51C Mustang fighter, “Betty Jane.” The B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine” is one of the few remaining B-17s still capable of flight. The B-24J and P-51C Mustang are the last remaining aircraft of their type flying in the world today.
Visitors were encouraged to tour the planes, talk to the veterans who come to visit the aircraft, and to participate in a “flight experience.” The Whiteside County stop is part of the group’s 110 city tour in 2016. Rock Falls Mayor Bill Wescott was on hand Wednesday to welcome the “Wings of Freedom Tour” to the region and said, “We’re happy to have these historic planes here. Hearing the engines and looking up and seeing these awesome aircraft over head gave me an adrenalin rush. It’s good to see an event like this here; I hope to see more like this in the future.”
200 E. Knox Street, Morrison, IL 61270
Airport Manager Mike Dowell exclaimed, “This is a wonderful event to host at the airport. These historic aircraft are part of our heritage and it’s an honor to host them, and I know our visitors to the tour feel the same way.”
The Whiteside County Airport, named Illinois General Aviation Airport of the Year 2016, has hosted events like this in the past, including “Warbirds Over Whiteside” 2012, “The Last Time,” a 2010 reunion of historic DC 10/C 47 aircraft, and the RV Aircraft Formation Flying Clinic. Gary Camarano, Whiteside County Economic Development Director said, “This was a great opportunity for us. We’re able to make the airport available for events like this and will continue to do so in the future. Seeing the excitement it generated among our visitors, both young and old, and being able to acknowledge the sacrifices of our Veterans was extremely gratifying. I’d like to see more events like this come our way – we’d love to host them.”
For additional information about “The Wings of Freedom Tour” contact the Colling Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the Whiteside County Airport contact M & M Aviation at email@example.com.