Wings Of Freedom Tour In Waterloo

Some vintage World War II airplanes are on display for visitors to see this week in northeast Iowa.

Four rare planes flew into the Waterloo Regional Airport on Monday as part of the Wings of Freedom Tour. Demi Bamber is flight coordinator for the Collings Foundation, the non-profit group that has organized the nationwide tour for the past 30 years. She said the tour is a living history that lets everyone learn more about their heritage through direct participation.

“A lot of people are so curious about history in their own family, because people came back from war and never talked about it. Then, they experience this,” Bamber said, as she sat inside a B-17 Flying Fortress. “It makes them feel, I guess, a little bit closer to what their relatives experienced in the war.”

According to the Collings Foundation, the B-17 is one of only nine in flying condition in the United States. Also on display is a P-51 Mustang, P-40 Warhawk Fighter, and a B-24 Liberator that's the only remaining example of its type flying in the world. Bamber said the tour gives everyone a chance to explore and learn about some unique and rare treasures of aviation history.

“I think it gives people a greater appreciation for what our veterans went through,” she said. “I think (the tour) makes people generally more curious about learning about history.”

In addition to exploring the aircraft inside and out, visitors can learn to fly the planes and take a 30-minute flight. Bamber was on the Flying Fortress when it flew into Waterloo.

“It’s inspiring, and it leaves you in awe,” Bamber said. “The experience for everybody is different, but it’s always moving. People get off with tears of joy in their eyes.”

The vintage airplanes are on display from 9:30 AM to 5 PM Tuesday and Wednesday, and 9:30 AM to Noon on Thursday at a cost of $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Flight experiences are scheduled before and after those hours, according to Bamber.

For reservations and information on flight experiences, call (800) 568-8924.