Two iconic Second World War bombers touched down at Penticton Regional Airport (YYF) on Monday morning as part of the Flying Legends of Victory Tour.
The Canada-U.S. tour of the rarest historical military planes in the world is spearheaded by the Commemorative Air Force, a non-profit organization based in Arizona.
Tony Anger is an American commercial pilot and volunteers to fly the 75-year-old warplanes.
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“It’s like flying a truck, my arms literally ache after flying it all day,” he told Global Okanagan.
The B-17 is a long-range strategic bomber on display alongside the B-25 bomber ‘Maid in the Shade.’ Both aircraft were built in the 1940s and are aerial artifacts of history.
“It’s called the fortress because it was made just for bombs and it has seventeen 0.50-calibre machine guns on it and the machine guns were used to defend the aircraft from the attacking German fighters,” he said of the B-17 heavy bomber.
“When we had Hitler on the run we did massive, massive bombings. There would be hundreds of these flying at the same time all in formation,” he said.
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“It took out factories, ball bearing plants. It was used to take out bridges, trains, and several other sorts of operations that the Nazis would use and it truly, truly helped win the war.”
The Penticton Flying Club was instrumental in bringing the rare military planes to the South Okanagan.
“Their history, of course, represents a lot of what they did in the world in World War 2 and it’s fascinating just the vintage, the sound, the noise, it’s thunderous, it’s fantastic,” said flying club vice-president Chris Lindal.
Aviation enthusiasts are clamouring to get a glimpse of wartime history for themselves.
“This is old technology, old airplanes, and to come here to Penticton with some new airplanes parked right beside it, it’s two different eras,” said Rob McKay, member of the Kelowna Flying Club.
Ground tours of both bombers will be held from 2:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m. Monday, Friday and Sunday this week with extended hours from Tuesday-Thursday; 9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Aerial tours will be held this weekend and flight costs range from US$325 to US$850 per seat.