KALISPELL – Pieces of living history, featuring World War II vintage planes, arrived at Glacier International Airport on July 4th.
The Wings of Freedom Tour was originally scheduled to arrive on Wednesday but thunderstorms prevented them from taking off from Spokane.
In its 30th year, these iconic planes travel the country paying tribute to those who flew them and the soldiers they protected.
Pilot Frank Hale says the traveling tour visits an average of 110 cities across 37 states every year.
Hale has flown the historic planes for 21 years. Starting at age 15, Hale learned how to fly planes. For years after that, he flew corporate aircraft.
The planes were known as the backbone of the war effort as they’re famous for their ability to sustain damage while keeping crew members safe.
“The B-24 were both strategic bombers in both theaters actually, the Pacific theater and the European theater. The B-17 was the most famous in the European theater,” Hale said.
“It was called the flying fortress because of the number of guns that it had on board. It had 13 50 caliber machine guns,” explained Hale.
Visitors are encouraged to explore in and out of the planes which are located at Gate 7 at Glacier International Airport.
People can also take a 30-minute flight on these rare planes. Flights on B-17 and B-24 are $450 per person. B-25 are $400 per person.
If you would like to fly the P-51, flight training is $2,400 for a half hour and $3,400 for a full hour.
P-40 Warhawk flight training is $2,200 for half hour and $3,200 for a full hour. For reservations please call 1-800-568-8924.
The traveling tour will be in Kalispell until Friday at noon.