‘Wings of Freedom’ Over Newport

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The distinctive tail of the B-24 is visible as the plane flies over West Newport and Banning Ranch, with the harbor visible in the distance. Photo by Jim Collins

Last weekend, the Lyon Air Museum at John Wayne Airport hosted a visit from the Collins Foundation’s “Wings of Freedom Tour.” Three World War II-vintage warplanes – a P-51 fighter and B-17 and B-24 heavy bombers – took up residence at the Lyon facility, offering tours on the ground and half-hour flights.

Two Indy contributors, Jim Collins and Eric Longabardi, took the flights – Collins in the B-24 and Longabardi in the B-17. They encountered perfect flying and photography conditions under clear blue skies, and a brush with history that won’t be forgotten. They filed this photo report.

The "Wings of Freedom Tour" includes this B-24 Liberator bomber, which the Collins Foundation says is the last flyable B-24 in the country. Photo by Jim Collins
The B-24's cockpit. Hundreds of people toured the plane on the ground during its three-day stay at the Lyon Air Museum. Photo by Jim Collins
The "Wings of Freedom Tour" B-17 takes off from John Wayne Airport under clear, sunny skies last weekend. Photo by Jim Collins
The pilot's-eye view from the B-17. Photo by Eric Longabardi
The Santa Ana River mouth from the nose bubble of the B-17. Photo by Eric Longabardi
Looking past one of the B-17's guns to a tanker in the sea off Newport Beach. Photo by Eric Longabardi

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