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WW II bombers to make appearances

The heavy rumble of vintage aircraft from World War II is about to fill the air over the Medford airport.

A B-17 Flying Fortress and a B-24 Liberator will arrive Wednesday as part of the Collings Foundation's Wings of Freedom Tour. The nonprofit group is based in Stow, Mass.

In an unrelated event, a 1943 Douglas DC-3, which dropped paratroopers during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, will arrive Monday. It is owned by John and Betty Pappas of Corona, Calif., whose firm is known as DreamFlight.

All three planes will be available for tours as well as rides. Fees will be charged.

The two warbirds arriving Wednesday have visited Medford before and always generate interest from young and old alike, said Devin Hill, spokesman for the Medford Jet Center where the B-17 and B-24 will be based until flying out Friday afternoon.

— There is a lot of people in this area who support these guys coming out here, he said of the historic aircraft. The B-24 is the only one of its kind flying today.

Fewer than 10 B-17s can still fly, according to the foundation.

The mission of the foundation is to educate the public about World War II aircraft as well as to pay tribute to those who flew them, according to founder Bob Collings.

The two heavy bombers are flying north from Concord, Calif., en route to Olympia, Wash., as part of a 120-city tour of the nation.

The Douglas DC-3 dubbed Rose will be heading south from an airshow in Northern Idaho when it stops in Medford. It was purchased seven years ago by the Pappases, both historic airplane buffs.

You'll hear her coming long before you see her, Betty Pappas said of the twin-engine aircraft known for its durability. But she's a beautiful airplane that has been all over the world.

After World War II, the plane served in the Pan American World Airways fleet and was later a corporate aircraft for executives, she said.

Ride a piece of history

Flights on either one of the two heavy bombers from the Collings Foundation are available for a &

36;400 tax-deductible donation beginning Wednesday afternoon.

Anyone interested in the 30-minute flight should call 978-562-9182 for reservations. The Collings Foundation Web site is .

The aircraft also will be available for tours from — to 7 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to — p.m. Friday.

A tour of both aircraft costs &

36;8 for adults and &

36;4 for children.

The donations help support the maintenance of the aircraft, which costs nearly &

36;3,100 per hour per aircraft, according to the foundation.

Flights on the DC-3, which will be at the airport on Monday, cost &

36;40 per person. The flights last about 20 minutes. The plane seats 24.

To make a reservation for a DC-3 flight or additional information, call DreamFlight at 877-386-2848.

The B-24 Liberator, with its tell-tale twin tails, cruises past the Golden Gate Bridge. It is the only one of its kind flying today.