A WWII museum with wings flew into Idaho Falls Friday, in the shape of a B-17 Bomber and a B-25 Bomber.
More than 13,000 B-17 bombers filled the skies during WW II, now only a handful of these rare birds remain, and less than a dozen can still take to the sky.
The captain of the B-17 Flying Fortress, Sentimental Journey, John Magoffin said this is the most authentic restoration of a B-17 bomber in the world, which was no easy task to achieve.
“All the armory was stripped out to make it light as possible so all of its historical artifacts had been removed as well,? Magoffin said. ?So the major push was to get the machine guns, the plexiglass, the guns, the radios… to bring it as close as possible to wartime configuration.”
When the Commemorative Air Force acquired the bomber in 1978, the warcraft had spent 20 years putting out wild fires. But that is not what it was designed for.
Built in 1944 the Sentimental Journey was designed to carry up to 8,000 pounds of ordinance, fortunately it never saw combat.
“We want people to see the airplane and understand the condition they were flown in and fought in and appreciate the significant part of American history,? Magoffin said.
Unlike the Sentimental Journey, the B-25 Mitchell Bomber Maid in the Shade is a veteran, with 15 combat missions flying out of Corsica during WW II. The restoration to bring Maid in the Shade back to flying condition took nearly 28 years and was just completed two years ago.
Magoffin said the restoration is important to tell the story of our history after the soldiers are gone.
“This is a living piece of history that shows people what type of aircraft they fought and died in,? Magoffin said.
The bombers will be in town until Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
Tours are $5 for adults and $3 for children.
Flights are by appointment only.
For more information visit www.azcaf.org.