WWII planes fly into Con­way

Con­way air­port will host 4 planes for vis­i­tors, pas­sen­gers

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - ARKANSAS -

Air Force vet­eran Tom New­man of Con­way takes a photo of a World War II-era heavy bomber, a B-24 Lib­er­a­tor named Di­a­mond Lil, af­ter the air­craft’s ar­rival Fri­day at Cantrell Field. The Com­mem­o­ra­tive Air Force AirPower His­tory Tour will be at the Con­way air­port from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to­day and Sun­day. The B-24 and other World War II-era planes will be dis­play and will be avail­able for rides and tours.

World War II mil­i­tary air­craft will be show­cased to­day and Sun­day at the Cantrell Field air­port in Con­way.

Di­a­mond Lil, one of two B-24 bombers in the world that still fly, and three other World War II mil­i­tary air­craft — a C-45 Ex­pe­d­i­tor, a T-6 Texan, and a PT-13 Stear­man — are sched­uled to be on dis­play, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease.

They are part of the Com­mem­o­ra­tive Air Force or­ga­ni­za­tion’s “Air-Power His­tory Tour.”

Cantrell Field is at 3275 Sand Gap Road, Con­way.

Vis­i­tors can view the air­craft up close, pur­chase rides and tour the B-24 when the air­plane is not fly­ing.

Ac­cess to the view­ing ramp is $10 for adults and $5 for youths age 11 through 17. Chil­dren age 10 and un­der are ad­mit­ted free. Rides range from $85 to $424, de­pend­ing on air­craft type. Rides may be booked in ad­vance at AirPow­erTour.org, where ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion is avail­able.

The event is open to the pub­lic to­day and Sun­day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A Vet­er­ans Day cer­e­mony will be held near the air­plane at 1 p.m. to­day.

The Di­a­mond Lil, built in 1941, was the 25th B-24 pro­duced by Con­sol­i­dated Air­craft Corp. It is the old­est re­main­ing B-24. Orig­i­nally con­fig­ured as “Di­a­mond Lil,” a trans­port air­craft, with mark­ings of the 98th Bomb Group, it un­der­went a ma­jor restora­tion in 2006 with the in­tent of re­turn­ing it to the orig­i­nal bomber con­fig­u­ra­tion, and it was re­named “Ol’ 927.”

In the win­ter of 2011-12 the Com­mem­o­ra­tive Air Force or­ga­ni­za­tion voted to re­turn the name “Di­a­mond Lil” to the air­craft with newly up­dated nose art. The air­plane is main­tained and op­er­ated by the vol­un­teers of the Com­mem­o­ra­tive Air Force’s B-29/B-24 Squadron based at the Vin­tage Fly­ing Mu­seum in Fort Worth.

The Com­mem­o­ra­tive Air Force or­ga­ni­za­tion has a fleet of more than 170 World War II air­planes that are as­signed to unit lo­ca­tions across the U.S. and sup­ported by 12,000 vol­un­teer mem­bers. Nearly all the air­craft are kept in fly­ing con­di­tion, en­abling peo­ple to ex­pe­ri­ence the sight and sound of vin­tage mil­i­tary air­craft in flight.

More in­for­ma­tion on the or­ga­ni­za­tion is avail­able at www.Com­mem­o­ra­tiveAirForce.org.

Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette/JOHN SYKES JR.

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