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    Come nose to nose with WW II bombers

    By Times staff writer

    © St. Petersburg Times, published February 17, 2001

    Two fully restored World War II heavy bombers, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a B-24 Liberator, landed at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport on Friday afternoon as part of Wings of Freedom Tour.

    The tour, sponsored by the nonprofit Collings Foundation of Stow, Mass., strives to keep World War II memories alive. The B-17 was commissioned on April 7, 1945. It was constructed too late for combat, but it did serve as part of the Air/Sea First Rescue Squadron and later in the Military Air Transport Service.

    Under the British flag, the B-24 served in the Pacific theater. It is one of only 10 B-24s in the world and the only one that is frequently airborne. Aviation enthusiasts may walk a bombing catwalk and view the cockpit and tail gunner position in the B-24, or they may look out the top hatch or the nose of the B-17. The aircraft will be on display today and Sunday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Monday. The cost is $7 for adults and $3 for children.

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