In addition to the Commemorative Air Force AirPower History Tour there is the Collings Foundation Wings of Freedom Tour which visits some of the Southern States including Florida in the Spring.
Each year, the Collings Foundation take their Wings of Freedom Tour through Florida with their Boeing B–17 Fortress, Consolidated B–24 Liberator and two-seater North American TF–51D Mustang fighter. Their North American B–25 Mitchell also joins the tour at selected venues though in the last couple of years it has not visited Florida.
They fly into a number of regional airports and at most venues you can take a ‘walk through’ tour of one of the bombers for $15 for adults and $5 for children (aged 12 and under). World War II veterans get free access.
You can also get some idea of what it was like to fly in these amazing aircraft on a 30 minute ‘air experience’ flight. Prices are $400 for the B–25 and $450 for the B–17 and B–24.
A minimum of six passengers is required for each flight (four for the B–25) and it is recommended you wear foam ear-plugs as inside the aircraft can be very noisy! It can also be quite draughty so a sweatshirt is also useful.
For the TF–51D, prices range from $2,400 to $3,400 for a half hour or one hour flight respectively.
Wings of Freedom 2019 Tour Schedule (Florida Locations)
For the 2019 tour, the B–17, B–24, B–25 and TF–51D will take part in the Florida portion of the tour but not all aircraft will necessarily appear at each destination.
Provisional tour schedule/locations for 2019 are:
|January 18 to 20, 2019||Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport [5320 NW 20th Terrace]|
|January 21 to 24, 2019||Boca Raton Airport [3300 Airport Drive]|
|January 24 to 27, 2019||Naples Municipal Airport [500 Terminal Drive]|
|January 28 to 31, 2019||Fort Myers Page Field Airport [5200 Channing Page Drive - West Ramp]|
|January 31 to February 3, 2019||Venice Municipal Airport [400 Airport Ave. East ]|
|February 4 to 7, 2019||Tampa Executive Airport [6530 Tampa Executive Airport Road]|
|February 7 to 10, 2019||Leesburg International Airport [8807 Airport Blvd ]|
|February 22 to 24, 2019||Pensacola International Airport [4145 Jerry L. Maygarden Road]|
Other Florida dates and destinations are yet to be announced.
The aircraft then continue their tour into other Southern States.
History of the Collings Foundation
The Collings Foundation is a non-profit, Educational Foundation (501c–3) and was founded in 1979.
It provides “living history” events to allow visitors to learn more about their heritage and in recent times has focussed more on the Second World War, Korean War and the Vietnam War and in particular on aircraft of those eras.
In total the Collings Foundation has around 20 aircraft in flying condition and some of them take part in the Wings of Freedom Tour.
Though the Collings Foundation is based in Stow, Massachusetts, quite a few of the collection spend time at their maintenance facilities at New Smyrna Beach, Florida.