B‐17 Flying Fortress plus five additional vintage military airplanes offering tours and rides.
Residents of Punta Gorda and the surrounding community will have an opportunity to get their hands on history March 11 through 13, 2016, when the Commemorative Air Force flies into Punta Gorda airport for a weekend barnstorming event. Aircraft include a B‐17 Flying Fortress, P‐51 Mustang, C‐45 Expeditor, T‐6 Texan, PT‐13 Stearman and T‐34 Mentor. Visitors will be able to see the aircraft up close, watch them fly, and also purchase rides.
The airplanes are part of the CAF AirPower History Tour visiting 8 cities in Florida this March. The tour brings aircraft, pilots and crews from over 70 CAF units located throughout the country together to create an ever changing assortment of touring military aircraft. These aircraft are powerful history lessons bringing the sights, smells and sounds of World War II aviation history to audiences across the United States.
The admission cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children age 10 through 17. Children under age 10 are free. The airplanes will be on static display when they are not flying. Ride prices range from $75 to $1695. Advance ride reservations may be made at www.AirPowerTour.org where additional information about the tour stop may also be found.
Aircraft will be on display at Punta Gorda Airport, 28000 A‐1 Airport Road in Punta Gorda Friday, March 11 through Sunday, March 13 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Twitter: @b29b24squadron, @thebucketpilot, @AirPowerTour
About the B‐17 Flying Fortress:
To many, the B‐17 is the most recognizable and famous bomber of World War II. Originally designed to meet a U.S. Army Air Corps specification issued in 1934, the prototype first flew on July 28, 1935 and quickly became known as the "Flying Fortress" due to its heavy defensive armament.
After several years of evaluation, the B‐17B was ordered into production with new turbo‐supercharged engines and heavier armament. The first was delivered to the Army in June 1939. The RAF received their first B‐17Cs in 1941, and were soon conducting daylight raids over Germany.
Throughout the war the B‐17 variants were modified with larger engines, higher capacity self‐sealing fuel tanks, more advanced armament such as power‐driven gun turrets and under‐wing bomb‐racks.
The B‐17F was the first to serve with the United States 8th Air Force.
After suffering significant losses in late 1943 due to head‐on attacks from enemy fighters, the B‐17G was introduced with a chin turret with dual machine‐guns. This gave the final variant of the B‐17 a defensive armament of 13 guns. Information about the B‐17 Texas Raiders can be found on the CAF Gulf Coast Wing website.
About the P‐51 Mustang:
One of the most famous and effective fighter aircraft of World War II, the P‐51 was originally designed to fulfill a British requirement submitted in April 1940. The North American Aircraft Corporation was contracted to design and build the new fighter. Early versions were powered by 1,100‐hp Allison engines, but later models, starting in 1943, used the more powerful Packard‐built Merlin V‐1650. The Merlin‐powered Mustangs were exactly what the Allied bombers in Europe desperately needed, and they became famous for their long range and potent high‐altitude escort capability. The most significant variant, the P‐51D, featured a 360‐degree‐view bubble canopy, a modified rear fuselage, and six 12.77‐mm machine guns. Along with the fighter role, Mustangs were used for ground attack and reconnaissance. After 1945, over 50 air forces around the world acquired and used the Mustang for many more years, some as recently as the early 1980s.
About the C‐45 Expeditor Bucket of Bolts:
The C‐45 is a military transport version of the Beechcraft Model 18, which began its 32 year production lifespan in 1937. It was the result of Walter Beech’s desire in 1935 to build a low‐wing monoplane to compete with the commercial biplanes of the day, like the Curtis Condor.
The C‐45 was first ordered by the U.S. Army Air Corps for use as a staff transport. It was continually modified throughout its production life with changes like increased seating capacity and a longer nose. A navigator training version was put in service as the AT‐7, and a float‐version was designated the AT‐7A.
The Model 18 was further modified during 1941 as the advanced trainer AT‐11, equipped with a small bomb bay, transparent nose section, and two .30 cal. machine guns. This variant was used for bombardier and gunneary training. A photo reconnaissance model, designated the F‐2, was the final wartime variant of the Model 18 The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps also acquired more than 1500 Model
18s during World War II, with respective identifiers of JRB and SNB.
About the Commemorative Air Force:
The Commemorative Air Force honors the men and women who built, maintained and flew in these airplanes during World War II. The organization believes that is best accomplished by maintaining the airplanes in flying condition; taking the airplanes to the people allowing them to experience the sight and sound of the aircraft in flight.
Collecting, restoring and flying vintage historical aircraft for more than half a century, the Commemorative Air Force ranks as one of the largest private air forces in the world. The CAF is dedicated to Honoring American Military Aviation through flight, exhibition and remembrance. A nonprofit educational association, the CAF has more than 13,000 members and a fleet of over 165 airplanes distributed throughout the country to 79 units located in 25 states for care and operation. Click for more information.