Not one, but two vintage air force bombers are scheduled to touch down at Penticton Regional Airport July 8.
Both aircraft, a B-17 named Sentimental Journey and a B-25, Maid in the Shade, have been here before but never at the same time.
The visit by some of the rarest historical military planes in the world—there are just a handful of each still flyable—is fitting after last year’s scheduled visit by Sentimental Journey was cancelled due to extended repair time needed to prolong its life.
The pair will be in Penticton until July 14 during which time people will not only have an opportunity to tour the planes but can also sign up for one of the 18 scheduled flights.
“They filled the flights every time the last time the B-17 was here. There really is a lot of interest,” said vice president Chris Lindal of the Penticton Flying Club, which organizes the event. “It really is a once in a lifetime thing for people who may be pilots or maybe remember the airplanes when they were in the war, or anybody really.
“Penticton’s a favourite spot for them to come and do their thing.”
Maid in the Shade is a B-25 Mitchell twin-engine bomber and the B-17 Flying Fortress is a heavier, four-engine aircraft “bristling with armament, with a deadly reputation and able to withstand brutal poundings.”
Both are owned, operated and have been lovingly restored and maintained by the Arizona-based Commemorative Air Force Museum.
The group arranges the Flying Legends of Victory tours each year for a number of different planes in both the United States and Canada.
Maid in the Shade visited Penticton for the first time in 2014 and was back three years later. Sentimental Journey’s only trip to Penticton was in 2015.
Both types of aircraft saw action in the Second World War.
Penticton is one of only two Western Canadian stops for the two planes, which are in Kamloops until July 7.
From Penticton, they will head back to the U.S., closing out the month in Idaho and Montana.
Gate entry is $2 per person and $5 for a family of four at the Penticton Flying Club location at the Penticton Regional Airport at 126 Dakota Way.
Tickets for inside ground tours of both bombers are $15 per person or $25 for a family of four.
Those tours take place Monday and Friday to Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Flights aboard the B-17 cost $425 USD for waist compartment seat (six available) and $850 USD for bombardier/navigator seat (two available).
For the B-25, waist compartment seats (four) are $325 USD and $650 USD for jump seats (three).
Flight reservations can be made online at https://www.azcaf.org/location/penticton-bc-tour-stop/
The flights generally last about 20 to 25 minutes and total time aboard the aircraft is around 40-45 minutes.
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