The distinctive rumble of radial engines and piston-powered aircraft are set to take over the skies above Pittsburgh this week.
Driving the news: The AirPower History Tour arrived at Allegheny County Airport on Monday, bringing the rarest of World War II fighters and bombers to the region—and a unique opportunity for members of the public and enthusiasts to experience aviation history.
- The AirPower History Tour brings the sights, sounds and stories of World War II aviation to airports across North America each year. It is operated by the Commemorative Air Force, which is dedicated to honoring American military aviation through flight, exhibition, education and remembrance.
- The CAF is the world’s largest flying museum, with a fleet of over 170 World War II aircraft supported by nearly 12,000 volunteer members nationwide.
- Nearly all aircraft in the fleet are kept in flyable condition, enabling the public to gain firsthand experience of vintage military aircraft in-flight.
Flying icons: The AirPower History Tour is scheduled to bring an extensive fleet of airplanes to AGC that include:
- Boeing B-29 Superfortress “FIFI”: The largest and most technologically advanced aircraft of its time, the B-29 Superfortress first flew in 1942 and entered service with the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1944. The B-29 also served in the Korean War and was a mainstay of the U.S. Air Force until the 1960s. “FIFI” has toured since 1974 and is one of two remaining B-29s worldwide flying today.
- Consolidated B-24 Liberator “Diamond Lil”: The U.S. built more than 18,400 B-24s during the war, making it the most produced aircraft of its time. The B-24 serving in WWII over Europe, North Africa, the Pacific and Asia. “Diamond Lil” is one of two remaining B-24s that still fly today.
- North American P-51 Mustang “Gunfighter”: One of the most recognizable and beloved fighters ever, the P-51 Mustang was a favorite of Allied fighter crews and the bombers they escorted. With its speed, long range and maneuverability, the Mustang quickly earned its reputation as one of the most effective fighters of all time.
- North American T-6 Texan: Nicknamed the “Pilotmaker,” the T-6 Texan is a WWII-era advanced trainer used to introduce new pilots to complex fighter aircraft.
- Boeing PT-13 Stearman: This open-cockpit bi-plane was the primary flight trainer for all branches of the U.S. military during WWII. As a trainer, the Stearman trained more crews than any other aircraft during the war.
Event information: The AirPower History Tour will be open to the public Wednesday, June 28 through Sunday, July 2, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at AGC. All aircraft will be staged near the main terminal, hosted by Atlantic Aviation.
- Ramp access to the aircraft is $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 11-17 and free for children ages 10 and under.
- The T-6, PT-13 and RC-45J will offer rides each day, with the P-51 starting on Friday. The B-29 will fly on Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. while the B-24 will fly Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
- Cockpit tours of the B-29 and B-24 will be available each day starting at 9 a.m. and on Saturday and Sunday when the aircraft are done flying.
- Additional information on the event and booking rides in advance can be found at the AirPower History Tour’s website.