Three vintage planes are on display at Wichita’s Jabara Airport, Friday through Sunday, as part of the Wings of Freedom Tour. The North American P-51 Mustang, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator three of the most famous planes to have flown in WWII.
The “Wings of Freedom Tour” has two goals: to honor the sacrifices made by American veterans and to educate the visitors, especially younger Americans, about their national history and heritage.
One of those brave American veterans came out to show his support and love of the WWII planes.
World War II Veteran R.G. Funderburg visited the Wings of Freedom Tour on Friday, July 13 to view the planes that he was so familiar with closed to 70 years ago. The 89 year old former WWII air gunner had many memories aboard the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, one memory a little too frightening.
While aboard a B-17 during WWII, the pilot of the plane (thinking the plane was going to crash) decided to bail on the crew and jump out, leaving the rest of the crew without a pilot onboard. Funderburg and other crew members came to the rescue to safely land the plane.
Funderburg was all smiles as he reminisced memories about the war and planes with other visitors - he even crawled aboard the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress in which he helped land back in 1944.
These three planes are very rare and unique, since after the war, many of the aircraft were scrapped for their raw aluminum to rebuild a nation in post-war prosperity and therefore very few were spared. Their importance to telling the story of WWII is why the Collings Foundation continues to fly and display the aircraft nationwide.