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Archive for Wednesday, July 19, 1995

HUGE FLIGHT OF AIRCRAFT FROM WWII TO PAY VISIT

July 19, 1995

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About 170 planes will land at an area airport next month.

The coordinator of a visit by dozens of World War II aircraft near Olathe is calling it a "once-in-a-lifetime experience" for vintage airplane buffs.

"This is really the largest assembly of these kind of airplanes since World War II," said Ray Gentile, area coordinator for Freedom Flight American, a cross-country flight of hundreds of World War II airplanes.

The event is being held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the war.

It will begin July 28, when dozens of aircraft will take off from Long Beach, Calif.

They will stop in several cities, including the New Century Air Center near Olathe.

Gentile said about 170 planes, including fighters, bombers and attack aircraft that fought for the Allies in both theaters of the war, will begin landing the afternoon of Aug. 3 at the airport.

All the planes should arrive by 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. At that time, the planes' parking area will be open to the public. People can meet the pilots and organizers of the event, he said.

Pilots will begin taking off from the airport between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Aug. 4. All aircraft should be gone by noon that day, he said.

Freedom Flight America is being conducted by hundreds of private pilots who own World War II aircraft, he said. They are spending private funds to participate in the flight, Gentile said.

"All the pilots are paying for it themselves," he said. "This was organized by a group of people in Dallas who had a patriotic feeling and wanted do something for V-J Day.

"It's really going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It's a great mix of everything that was used during the war ... in both theaters. It's really a great collection."

Admission is free, as is parking, Gentile said. Refreshments and souvenirs will be available at the airport, he said.

To get to New Century Air Center from Lawrence, take Kansas Highway 10 to I-35 and go south about 12 miles to the Gardner exit. The airport is just west of the exit, Gentile said.

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