Vintage warplanes staging in Tyler before air show - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Vintage warplanes staging in Tyler before air show

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

The Thunder Over Cedar Creek Air Show is this weekend, and the planes coming in need a place to park, so once again they will be staging at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport.

All day Saturday you can go see the planes before they take off for Cedar Creek Lake in the evening. We take a look at a couple of pieces of flying history.

If you want to see an air show on July 6, you'll have to go to Cedar Creek Lake, but if you want to get a really close look at some very interesting aircraft you can cruise out to Tyler Pound Regional Airport and see them in, well, inaction.

Pat Elliot, pilot of the B-17 flying fortress says the plane is:

"One of the reasons we speak English with an American Accent," observed Pat.

This B-17 took off on April 14, 1955 to head for Okinawa and had been fitted with radar to look for kamikaze. While it was still over the U.S. the pilot was told the war was over. The plane never saw combat.

"The Navy got hold of it and put a boat under it, and it was coastal rescue and patrol. Then after they used it Litton Corporation bought it and cut a big hole in the left side: a big door and they used it for freight hauling and seismic exploration," Pat explained.

In 1967, it became part of the Commemorative Air Force.

If that's not enough bomber for your buck you can also check out a B-25. The "Devil Dog" was modeled after a bomber that flew out of Saipan in 1944. It flew missions over Iwo Jima, but never returned from its 23rd mission.

The B-17 has another pilot: Ole Nygren. Yes, Ole is from the land of fjords.

"We are doing what we call "Living History Flights" for a charge. We are doing that today and tomorrow and Sunday Morning. It's a local flight in the B-17. We can carry eight passengers, and we'll do a 30 minute flight," Ole said.

As you can imagine these planes are expensive to keep in the air.

"This thing burns 225 gallons an hour at five bucks, maybe more, a gallon," Pat pointed out.

The plane's appearance fee helps pay for gas, but the volunteers working the planes say the history flights are all that pays for incredibly expensive parts.

The planes may be old, but they have to fly like they just rolled off the assembly line.

If you can afford it, you can help keep history flying in to the future.

It only costs five dollars to see the planes out at the HAMM museum at Tyler Pound Regional.

The "Living History Flights" are $425.00, or $625.00 if you want to sit in the nose of the B-17.

For more information on the air show, click here.

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