Four of the Commemorative Air Force Arizona Wing’s most famous aircraft from World War II will converge on south Chandler this month when Chandler Airport Dayz makes its return.
The museum’s B-17 bomber “Sentimental Journey,” a PT-17 Stearman and SNJ and L-16 trainers will be on display and will be available for the public to tour and take rides on.
As part of Chandler’s centennial celebration, the event will be held at the Chandler Municipal Airport, 2380 S. Stinson Way, the weekend of April 14-15, featuring the planes that were used to train flying cadets out of Mesa’s Falcon Field. The planes will be outside the Chandler Air Service flight school, 1675 E. Ryan Road, during the event, which is expected to draw thousands.
The Chandler Airport Alliance and the Commemorative Air Force Arizona Wing which is housed at Mesa’s Falcon Field are organizing the event and flights to honor Arizona veterans and to educate the public about the types of aircraft and businesses that operate at the Chandler Airport.
The planes, which have been restored to their original splendor, will arrive about 9 a.m. on Saturday and leave about 5 p.m. on Sunday, said Rick Senffner, a spokesman for the Commemorative Air Force Aviation Museum at Falcon Field.
“It’s like a flying museum that will be coming to the airport,” Senffner said. “We get a lot of family members who will say they heard their dad or grandpa flew on one of these planes, but didn’t know a whole lot about them. This will be a good day for people of all ages to come out and learn more about the aircraft as well as the services the airport has to offer.”
When the U.S. 8th Air Force was stationed in East Anglia, there were 26,000 aviators who were lost, and many of those who returned home from the war, kept their stories inside of them, Senffner said,
“A lot of the older servicemen won’t talk much about the flights, but they’ll talk about their buddies,” Senffner said. “The flights were very hazardous and dangerous,” Senffner said. “The planes were flown by stick and rudder; there were no computers at that time. The men were flying by recognition and dead reckoning. It was aviation at its fullest.”
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