Wings of Freedom: Aircraft tour flies into Valley airport
Staff Report • October 19, 2010
WEYERS CAVE — It started as an ordinary Monday in October.
Then, Chris Botkin, of Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport’s operations and public safety staff, spotted the e-mail: there was an unexpected opening on the B-24 Liberator bomber the Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom National was flying in that day.
Botkin had been on one of the half-hour flights the foundation offers on a previous stop-over in the Valley, and like many in the area he was thrilled by the sight of the rare World War II aircraft roaring in for landings.
He jumped at the chance to ride in the B-24, the last of its kind still flying.
The foundation’s Wings of Freedom tour is a flying tribute to the crews who flew the U.S. bombers and fighter planes that played such a decisive role in World War II.
During the tour’s three-day stop-over at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, visitors can explore the planes inside and out, and, for $425 per person, have a half-hour flight in one.
In Botkin’s case, the 75-minute flight to Shenandoah Valley Regional from the tour’s previous stop in Maryland — he had to scramble to hitch a ride there to get on the plane — meant a morning off the clock.
“My boss was great about it,” he said. “A few hours not on the paycheck? It was worth it, absolutely.
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