We were about 10 minutes into our flight on the North American B-25 Mitchell (one of America’s most famous medium bombers according to Lake Highlands resident and Frontiers of Flight Museum development officer John Billimeck). I was concentrating on the sights and sounds inside the vintage plane and the fading earth beneath it. I could almost feel the ghost of the young man who once occupied the seat in which I was sitting, buckled tight, dripping sweat, unable to hear a thing but the rumrumrumeeerrrrmmm of those deafening Wright R-2600 engines as he cruised over the Pacific into battle. Maybe that passenger was still alive, I hoped, and was one of the old men standing on the ground, shaded eyes glued to the old aircraft as it carried me into the clouds.
A quickly emerging unease yanked me from my reverie, and soon I was fully focused on not hurling all over myself and my coworker, and the guys from the Dallas Morning News who were with us. I honed in on my own breathing until we landed, and when I mentioned how bad I felt, someone commented that at least I wasn’t being shot at. Indeed.
Back on the ground, we had the pleasure of meeting Staff Sgt. Homer Hogues, a resident of Allen, TX who is one of the original Tuskegee Airmen. Also we chatted with our pilot, a 19-year-old named Rob Pinkston. When before the flight I expressed faux dismay about his youth I was reminded that the original pilots were about the same age. Put in my place yet again.
You could experience this for yourself — and get a feel for what soldiers experienced during WWII (sans the enemy fire, etc.) — this weekend at the Frontiers of Flight’s annual Wings of Freedom Tour.
Organizers were kind enough to send members of the media up on the B-25 Mitchell Wednesday. We flew for 20 minutes over Highland Park, Preston Hollow, White Rock Lake and Lake Highlands, Garland and Lake Ray Hubbard — did you see us? Keep your eye on the sky (though your ears might tell you first) through Sunday as flights of the B-25, B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator and P-51C Mustang cruise over our coverage area.
So, if you cannot afford the $400-$450 ticket to ride, or if you think you might be a motion-sickness prone weenie, peruse our photos, taken by the Advocate’s Danny Fulgencio.
Cost is considered a donation and is tax deductible. It all helps fund the continued operation of the aircraft on the 110-city tour, which aims to preserve historical aircraft and honor the veterans who flew them.
What: Bring the family to tour the airplane museum and the WWII planes on the ground at the Wings of Freedom Tour
Where: Frontiers of Flight Museum, 6911 Lemmon
When: Through Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.