Monday, October 22, 2012

Press Release: B-17 and B-24 Flying to Greenville, South Carolina

For Immediate Release
Lara Kaufmann

World War II B-24 and B-17 Will be in Greenville, S.C.
On Friday, October 26th, the “Wings of Freedom Tour” will land at the Greenville Downtown Airport in South Carolina.  They will depart on Sunday, October 28th.  This is a rare opportunity to visit, explore, and learn more about these unique and rare treasures of our aviation history.

The Consolidated B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft” WWII Heavy Bomber is the sole remaining example of its type flying in the World.  The vintage Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress” is one of only 11 in flying condition in the United States.

"These historic planes are quite rare and we are lucky that they have chosen to come to Greenville,” stated Tim Bishop, Director of Museum Development for the Upcountry History Museum.  “We had asked if they could come as part of our museum’s upcoming Veterans Tribute Weekend and we were told that it wasn’t possible.  So we said when CAN you come?” joked Bishop.  “After many back and forth communications they said how about October 26th – 28th and of course we said GREAT!”  Bishop added.

The B-17 & B-24 were the backbone of the American effort during the war from 1942 to 1945 and were famous for their ability to sustain damage and still accomplish the mission. Despite the risks of anti-aircraft fire, attacking enemy fighters and the harrowing environment of sub-zero temperatures, many B-17s and B-24s safely brought their crews home.

After the war, many aircraft were scrapped for their raw aluminum to rebuild a nation in post-war prosperity and therefore very few were spared. The rarity of the B-17 and B-24 and their importance to telling the story of WWII is why the Collings Foundation continues to fly and display the aircraft nationwide. For aviation enthusiasts, the tour provides opportunity for the museum to come to the visitor and not the other way around!

“I am constantly asked when historic planes will come again to the Greenville Downtown Airport.” said Joe Frasher, the Airport’s Director.  “Visits by planes like these are very popular.  They don’t happen very often because not many of these planes are still flying and the ones that are left are in very high demand to visit places all over the U.S.,” Frasher added.

The “Wings of Freedom Tour” travels the nation as a flying tribute to the flight crews who flew them, the ground crews who maintained them, the workers who built them, the soldiers, sailors and airmen they helped protect; and the citizens and families that share the freedom that they helped preserve.

“This visit is especially important because our WWII vets are getting well into their 90s, so time is of the essence if we want them to be able to see these planes that were so important to their service,” stated Paul Howell, Director of Honor Flight Upstate South Carolina.  “Our mission usually is to show our honor and support to these heroes by offering a program that flies our World War II veterans to Washington, DC, to see the memorial built in their honor, and to experience recognition for their service that literally saved the world. Now we have the opportunity to bring a bit of their history to them. This is a further extension of our community's way of saying thank you to our heroes. I know our local veterans and the whole community will love seeing these historic flying machines so close to home!” Howell said.

 “The Collings Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that exists solely to keep these planes flying.  Parts are expensive because they are hard to find or make.  It cost about $4,000 an hour just to run the planes,” stated Hunter Chaney, Marketing Director of the Collings Foundation.  “The ‘donations’ for ground tours and flights enable us to keep our aviation history flying,” added Chaney.

Access to all three aircraft that includes walk through tours are just $12 for adults, and $6 for children 12 and under. WWII Veterans get into the ground tours at no charge.  No reservations are needed and the walk through tour times are:

Friday, 10/26/2012 12:00 PM to 4:30 PM
Saturday, 10/27/2012 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Sunday, 10/28/2012 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Flight Experiences take place before and after walk through tours. Reservations are required.  Call 978-562-9182 to arrange your flight.

Flight Experiences “Donations” are $425 per person aboard the B-17 or B-24.

“It will be a great weekend to visit the airport.  Hope to see you here!” stated Frasher.

The planes will be on the Runway Cafe's apron, which is on the South Ramp of the Greenville Downtown Airport, located at 21 Airport Road Ext., Greenville, SC 29607.

“For those who would like to attend the Veterans Tribute Weekend, it will be held November 10 – 11 at the Upcountry History Museum.  The event is free to attend and will include exhibits of military collections from the Upstate that include artifacts ranging from medals to army tanks, new Greenville Army Air Base / Donaldson Center exhibit as well as military flyovers!” stated Bishop.

The Collings Foundation is an educational foundation devoted to organizing “living history” events that allows people to learn more about their heritage and history through direct participation. The Nationwide WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR is in its 23rd year and visits an average of 110 cities in over 35 states annually. Since its start, tens of millions of people have seen the B-17 and B-24 display at locations everywhere. The WINGS OF FREEDOM tour is one of the most extraordinary and unique interactive traveling historical displays of its kind.  For further information please visit or e-mail Hunter Chaney at or call 978.562.9182

Honor Flight Upstate SC is a non-profit, volunteer-based program that is dedicated to honoring our World War II veterans and the sacrifices they have made to keep our nation safe and our people free.  Honor Flight Upstate SC has flown over 650 WWII veterans to Washington, DC since May, 2008, and the next flight is scheduled for April, 2013. Many financial supporters in the community have helped complete this task. For more information please visit or contact Paul Howell at 864-869-VETS or

The Upcountry History Museum's mission is to promote, present and preserve the history of Upcountry South Carolina through education, research and service.  For more information please visit or contact Tim Bishop at (864) 467-3100 or at

The Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) is the busiest general aviation airport in South Carolina and is a self-sufficient entity with financial strength that doesn't rely on local taxpayers for funding. GMU is home to Greenville Jet Center, the largest Fixed Base Operation (FBO) in S.C., as well as more than 25 other aviation-related businesses creating 453 jobs that annually contribute more than $35.2 million to the Upstate economy. For more information about GMU please visit or contact Joe Frasher at 864-242-4777 or