Pilots with the Commemorative Air Force Arizona Wing Museum are flying a pair of authentic World War II-era American bombers into Prescott this week for public viewing Friday through Sunday at Ernest A. Love Field.
A B-17 Flying Fortress and a B-25 Mitchell will arrive at the Prescott Municipal Airport around noon on Friday and remain stationed there until 5 p.m.
Showing of the bombers will continue from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber "Sentimental Journey," which paid a visit to the Prescott Airport in 2009, and the B-25 Mitchell Bomber "Made in the Shade," a newcomer here, will park at Legend Aviation, 2020 Clubhouse Drive, on the airport's southern side.
Tour fees for the B-17 are $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 5-12. Children younger than 5 get in free.
Rick Senffner of the Arizona Wing Commemorative Air Force said folks will have the opportunity to take rides on the B-17. Those flights cost $425 per person from a perch in the plane's waist section (six seats) and $600 per person inside the nose (two seats).
Mel Tiensvold of Prescott, a B-17 pilot with the Commemorative Air Force for the past 15 years, will conduct this weekend's rides, each of which lasts some 20-25 minutes in the skies.
"We want to give the community a reason to come out and see the airport and what kind of facilities we have," Tiensvold said.
Members of the Mesa-based Wing Museum, who were here this past spring, say they made Prescott one of the first stops on their year-round tour of the bombers to honor Arizona veterans past and present.
The all-volunteer, nonprofit Commemorative Air Force's Arizona Wing Aviation Museum maintains and operates the bombers as flying museums and memorials. Its restored aircraft and artifacts span more than 90 years of aviation history.
Arizona Wing members restored the Sentimental Journey, which Boeing manufactured in 1944. Senffner said that of the roughly eight B-17 Flying Fortresses in the world still flying today, the Sentimental Journey holds the distinction as the most fully restored.
During World War II, the Made in the Shade flew 18 combat missions from its base on the tiny island of Corsica off the western coast of Italy. Senffner said it took 28 years to restore the bomber and return it to flying condition. The work on the aircraft finished this past May.
Those interested in flying in the B-17 can make a reservation by calling 602-448-9415 or visiting the tour's mobile gift shop at the airport on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
The Commemorative Air Force Arizona Wing Aviation Museum operates the aviation museum at Falcon Field in Mesa.
For more information about this weekend's event, call Senffner at 480-332-6046 or log on to the Internet at www.azcaf.org.
Also at the airport on Saturday, Prescott Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 658 will offer free flights for children ages 8-17.
Legend Aviation will play host to the Young Eagles event. It is a part of the association's national Young Eagles program that has flown 1.5 million children since 1992.
This weekend, association pilots will fly certified and experimental aircraft while Guidance Helicopters, Inc., flies children in a helicopter.
Flights are limited to the first 70 children to register at the Young Eagles desk at the airport off Clubhouse Drive. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m. with flights beginning at 10 a.m.
EAA will serve a pancake breakfast at 8 a.m., followed by a grilled bratwurst lunch around noon. Legend Aviation will sell raffle tickets for prizes, which include rides in vintage aircraft and Native American jewelry.
Admission and parking for the event are free.
To find out more about Saturday's flights, call Prescott EAA chapter president Bill DeRouchey at 237-1632 or log on to the Internet at www.flyprescott.com.