Vintage World War II aircrafts in Bowling Green

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) – It has been 75 years since the largest air armada the world had ever seen, lifted into the skies over Europe.

The Texas Raiders are bringing history right to the Bowling Green Airport June 7-9. Cockpit tours go from 10 am to 4 pm Admission to the event is $10 per adult, $5 for children under 12, and $20 for a family of up to five and includes access to all the aircrafts for cockpit tours.

There is also an opportunity to book a flight upon one of the aircrafts. Warbird flights start as low as $100 for the Navy transport. Seats on the B-17 start at $495.

Kevin Michels, flight crew and wing historian, says, “We have a B-17 Flying Fortress here today, which is extraordinarily rare in today’s world. Whereas there were 12,731 of these built during World War II today, there are just five it’s still fly in the world. Only three of those tour and Texas Raiders is one.”

“World War II is the preeminent point of modern history. Everything in the world today was formed by the conclusion of World War II. So it’s incredibly important to understand the causes the conduct and the repercussions of that conflict. And you have grandfathers great grandfather’s, some folks have fathers who fought in that war. And here in the United States, we had 418,000 men killed. In the Eighth Air Force alone, there were 300,000 men who served 26,000 of them never came home, which means they never got a chance to grow old, and never get a chance to have families. And those sacrifices are brought the freedoms that we take for granted every day,” says Michels.

I got to take a tour of the B-17, which contains all of the old technology used during the war.

Pilot Chris Jersey says, “The 50 caliber machine guns, the ball turns the waist turret, the waist gunners the tail, the tail gunners the top turret gunner the radio room with the old radios then up into the nose you’ll see the the navigators table and Bombardier station and the old Norton bomb site which was very important during World War II. That’s what made the bombing so accurate with these airplanes.”

The importance of these artifacts isn’t just the planes themselves, but those who fought and died for our country.

“These are time machines. Once you go up you go back in time once you leave the ground you could be you could be right there back in Europe during World War II, placing yourself in that position of a young airmen getting ready to go, you know, drop bombs on Germany, so it’s it’s quite something so the stories you hear the stories get to tell the share with people it’s the best part of the whole thing,” Jersey says.

The expo also includes a twin engine Navy transport.

“The JRB was pretty much a transport airplane that transported the executive branch of the military around it was also a trainer. It was also used to train pilots to fly bigger airplanes. It was used to train the Bombardiers. They actually would put a different nose on it with a no similar to the B-17. With with the plexiglass, and then also as a navigation platform,” he says.

Experimenting these historical artifacts is a once in a lifetime experience you won’t want to miss.

Visit b17texasraiders.org to book your flight, or call 1-855-359-2217.

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