Several aviation organizations, including the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, are sponsoring an “Arsenal of Democracy” flyover on May 8 in Washington, D.C., on the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day. The Arsenal of Democracy: World War II Victory Capitol Flyover is part of a three-day celebration and coincides with a ceremony for veterans at the World War II National Memorial. About two-dozen vintage World War II aircraft will fly in formations representing the major battles, from Pearl Harbor to the final air assault on Japan. The flyover will conclude with a missing man formation to Taps.
Participating aircraft are expected to include the only flying Boeing B-29 Superfortress, along with examples of the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Bell P-39 Airacobra, Lockheed P-38 Lightning, North American P-51 Mustang, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, Chance-Vought (Goodyear-built) FG-1D Corsair, North American B-25 Mitchell and Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.
GAMA noted the U.S. produced approximately 300,000 aircraft to support war efforts. “The ramp-up in manufacturing was extraordinary,” the association said.
Former President George H.W. Bush, former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.), and former Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), all World War II veterans, are honorary co-chairs of the Arsenal of Democracy. Also participating are numerous lawmakers, including House General Aviation Caucus co-chair Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.).