Archive for Friday, July 18, 2003

Air parade’ will offer skygazers opportunity to see vintage WWII airplanes in flight

July 18, 2003


The roar of vintage World War II airplanes will fill the skies Monday over Lawrence.

An "air parade" -- not an "air show," which requires approval from the Federal Aviation Administration -- begins at 10 a.m. More than 20 planes will fly directly over Memorial Stadium, where the public can get the best view of the aircraft.

Bill Howell, assistant dedication coordinator, said the parade was designed to show the importance of aircraft during World War II and pay homage to the men and women in the aviation industry.

"It tells you something about the testament of the American worker and the pride that went into those planes," he said. "They made the best, most reliable aircraft that the world knew."

The planes also will be on display at Lawrence Municipal Airport from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday, except for during the air parade, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday.

No parking is available at the airport, so visitors must take a shuttle bus to the site.

One of show's highlights will be a B-17 bomber used in the movie "Memphis Belle."

Aircraft scheduled to participate in the parade include:

P-51 Redtail Mustang. One of greatest single-seat fighters of the World War II era, the P-51 was known for its ability to fly long distances in the escort fighter role, which earned it praise during the long missions to Germany and over the Pacific. Mustangs also were used during the Korean War and served in the air forces of some 20 other countries.

What: Air Parade, WWII aircraft displayWhen: 10 a.m. Monday for the air parade. From 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday for the display.Where: Memorial Stadium for the air parade. Lawrence Municipal Airport for the display. No parking is available at the airport, so visitors must take a shuttle to the site.

AT-6 Texan. Known as the most universally used military training aircraft of all time, the planes are still flown today. Most of the U.S. pilots in World War II flew this aircraft at some time during their careers.

B-25J Mitchell. A versatile medium bomber that was used on all fronts of the war, the B-25J was made famous by the Doolittle Raiders, who used the plane to bomb the Japanese islands in April 1942.

Boeing B-17. One of the best-known bombers of all time, the B-17 Flying Fortress became famous for its successes during the bombing raids over Europe in World War II. With up to 13 machine guns, the B-17 earned the nickname "fortress in the sky."

C-47 Skytrain. The C-47 Skytrain was the most commonly used transport among the Allied air forces and operated in every theater of war. This durable aircraft inspired imitations by the Japanese and later the Russians. The DC-3 is the commercial version of this aircraft. The C-47 was famous for its dependability, versatility and ability to carry extremely heavy loads. Some of the C-47's most famous missions include transport over the Himalayas, dropping paratroops behind enemy lines on D-Day and assisting during the postwar Berlin airlift. The U.S. military continued to use the C-47 in Korea and Vietnam, and many still fly in other countries today.

Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless. This dive-bomber is famed for its performance during the Battle of Midway, where it contributed to the destruction of four Japanese carriers. It also served with distinction at Coral Sea and in the Solomons campaign, and it continued to be used until late 1944. Its slotted dive brakes could be opened in the trailing edge of the wings to slow down its rate of descent when making near-vertical dives on its target.

Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat. The Hellcat was the main fighter for the U.S. Navy during the last three years of the war. It was rugged and reliable, and it had the performance to match or beat Japanese fighters.

Grumman TBM-3 Avenger. A torpedo plane used by the U.S. Navy, the Avenger saw its first combat at the Battle of Midway. It was well-known for its versatility, including its capability to attack with either a torpedo or standard bombs. Distinguishing features include a long internal torpedo bay and a revolving turret for a rear-facing gunner.

Republic P-47D. Affectionately know as "the Jug," the P-47D was a hard-hitting ground-attack aircraft that had a reputation for withstanding damage better than other fighters.

Vought F4U Corsair. Considered the most outstanding carrier-based fighter to be used operationally in World War II, the Corsair was known to the Japanese as "Whistling Death." The Corsair was the first U.S. single-engine fighter to exceed 400 miles per hour.

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