World War II planes on display in La Crosse

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Three World War II planes landed at the La Crosse Regional Airport Monday.

The planes are in La Crosse for The Collings Foundation's Wings of Freedom tour.

The Collings Foundation supports living history events involving transportation.

“World War II is probably the biggest conflict in human history. It touched just about everyone's lives across the country, and as living history we want to make sure these younger generations don't forget what these men and women sacrificed,” said B-24 pilot Jim Harley.

Wings of Freedom is a nationwide tour.

On average it covers 110 cities in 38 states in 11 months.

The planes on display are a B-17 Flying Fortress and a B-24 Liberator, which B-24 pilot Jim Harley said were primary heavy bombers during World War II.

“They bombed the Axis, the Germans and the Japanese and the Mustang we have escorted the bombers and they protected them from the fighters and other enemy elements they could handle,” said Harley.

Ben Verbick and two of his co-workers got a chance to fly in the B-17.

The tour made a stop at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport north of the Twin Cities, where they work, and the three were offered a ride.

“Probably one of the coolest feelings you could ever experience. A little bit rocky with today's wind, but other than that, the noise, the feel of it, I mean you can't really describe it,” said Verbick.

Those who came to check out the planes say it's an opportunity to see a part of history.

“Why not go see something you can't see every other day and you may not ever see again?” said Van Zimmerman, La Crosse

“I was out here last year and I won't miss this,” said Dean Gunderson, Mindoro.

The Wings of Freedom tour runs Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesday from 8 a.m. until noon.

It's at the Civil Air Patrol building at the La Crosse Regional Airport.

Admission is $12 for adults and $6 dollars for kids 12 and under.

World War II veterans get in free.

You can also take a half hour flight in one of the planes.

It's $450 dollars for the B-17 or B-24 and $2,200 for the Mustang.


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