Photo Courtesy of Airbase Arizona
Do you want a chance to experience a Living History Flight in a fully restored B-17, C-47 or Stearman? The Commemorative Air Force, Airbase Arizona is bringing three of the most iconic planes from World War II to visit Phoenix Deer Valley Airport, March 19-21.
The B-17 Flying Fortress Sentimental Journey is one of only five currently flying in the world out of over 12,000 manufactured for combat during WWII – and is the leading exhibition warbird in The Flying Legends of Victory Tour conducted by CAF Airbase Arizona, a non-profit flying museum. The Boeing B-17 was most famous for operations in Europe but was used in every theater of war from 1941-1945. B-17 cruise speed was about 160 miles per hour; maximum altitude was 36,000 ft. At high bombing altitudes in this unheated aircraft, extreme temperatures subjected many crew members to frostbite.
Sentimental Journey was originally manufactured and delivered to the U.S. Army Air Forces for war service in 1944 – too late for European service but flew missions in the Pacific Theater.
After the war, she flew for training, testing, and air-sea rescue missions and was eventually sold for surplus and used as a fire bomber. In 1978 the aircraft was purchased by a Commemorative Air Force (CAF) member and donated to the newly formed Arizona unit of the world-famous CAF. She was meticulously restored and is today maintained in tip-top condition and operated by all-volunteer crews from the membership of CAF Airbase Arizona.
The C-47, called Old Number 30, had a distinguished combat history in World War II. It dropped British paratroopers and glider troops into Sicily and Greece. The aircraft participated in Special Operations missions in Yugoslavia helping Partisans to defeat the German occupation force. This plane evacuated Allied personnel from near the battlefield to hospitals in the rear as well as moving wounded Partisans out of Yugoslavia. The C-47 is a modified version of the Douglas DC-3 passenger airliner and was used as a corporate plane after WWII. She was then purchased by the “Wings of Flight Foundation” before arriving at Arizona CAF Museum.
The US Navy N2S-3 Stearman bi-plane, also known as a Kaydet, served as a primary military trainer in the 1930s and 1940s. A total of 8,584 were built in the United States and is one of the most recognized trainers of all time. The majority of pilots learned to fly in a Kaydet and were required to solo in this aircraft before receiving pilot wings.
The exhibition of Sentimental Journey, Old Number 30 and the Stearman, as part of the Flying Legends of Victory Tour, is hosted/sponsored by Cutter Aviation. CAF Airbase Arizona is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation and is one of over 80 worldwide units of the Commemorative Air Force.
Cutter Aviation is located at 732 W. Deer Valley Road in Phoenix. The B-17 and C-47 aircraft will be open to the public for ground tours Friday and Saturday from 2–6 p.m. To schedule a ride, book online at azcaf.org or call 480-462-2992.