The Collings Foundation will bring relics of the World War II era to the Dothan Regional Airport next week – the group’s first visit to the area in several years.
Three vintage aircraft -- a B-17 Flying Fortress, a B-24J Liberator, and a P-51 Mustang -- are all scheduled to be at the Dothan airport from Monday until Wednesday next week. The planes will land between 11:30 a.m. and noon Monday and will depart after noon on Wednesday, according to Hunter Chaney, Collings Foundation director of marketing.
Tours will be from noon until 4:30 p.m. Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, and 9:30 a.m. to noon Wednesday. Visitors can park at the main terminal to access the airport, Chaney said.
It has been about five years since the tour stopped in Dothan. This year’s Wings of Freedom tour projects to make 109 stops in 37 states, Chaney said. The last visit to Dothan was a successful one, he added.
“Because we haven’t visited in a while, we decided to make another stop,” Chaney said. “The folks in Dothan have a deep appreciation for World War II history.”
The P-51 Mustang, a fighter plane, is a recent addition that did not appear in Dothan during the last visit.
Collings Foundation officials hope to inspire a love for history with the tour, especially in younger generations, Chaney said.
“The beauty of the tour is we’re bringing an interactive memorial to people. This is the real thing – straight out of 1944,” he said. “We’re starting to see this (World War II) generation passing. We’ve seen a lot of family members (of veterans) come. What we hope in the younger generation is they find it intriguing enough to research and develop a love for World War II history.”
To view the planes costs $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12, with discounts offered to school groups.
Visitors can fly on the B-17 or B-24 for $450 for 30 minutes, and attendees can get P-51 flight training for $2,200 for a half-hour or $3,200 for a full hour.
Those interested in the flights are encouraged to make reservations by calling 1-800-568-8924, but can also sign up at the site, Chaney said.