Vintage fighter planes from World War II on display the the Westchester County Airport brought a distant conflict to life Saturday.
History buffs from the region came to the airport to learn about and explore the insides of B-17, B-24 and B-25 bomber planes. The planes brought White Plains resident Don Jones back to the time when he was a young man in the 1950s stationed with the Air Force in Germany, where he worked on fighter planes.
“I marvel that they have been so well preserved and I marvel at the conditions the people inside the planes had to work in,” said Jones.
Attendees were allowed to enter two of the planes, whose interiors were very cramped and not comfortable or easily accessible to tall or large people. None of the planes appeared to have climate control or any of the amenities associated with modern commercial aircraft.
The exhibition was part of the Wings of Freedom Tour organized by the Collings Foundation, a nonprofit educational foundation devoted to organizing living history events that allow people to learn more about history through direct participation.
The B-17, B-25 and B-24 were the backbone of the American effort during the war from 1942 to 1945 and were able to sustain damage and still accomplish their missions.
Tom Rogan, 63, of Mahopac said he comes every year to look at the planes.
“It’s part of my father’s era,” Rogan said. “They used to have guys who were pilots and crew members and I would like to sit with them and hear their stories.”
Mac McCauley, 73, is the pilot for the B-17 plane on display and he’s been flying the vintage planes around the country for 18 years. McCauley said he often gets surprised reactions from attendees.
“They don’t realize how small they were,” he said.
The Wings of Freedom Tour exhibition continues at the airport off of Route 120 on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children.