It’s been 75 years since the largest air armada the world had ever seen lifted into the skies over Europe, but on July 3rd history will come alive again when four vintage warbirds roar into the skies over Tyler, Texas in celebration of Independence Day and in recognition of local first responders. Led by the Commemorative Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress Texas Raiders, the flyover commences at 2:00 PM on Friday July 3rd, launching from Tyler Pounds Regional Airport.
The United States built over 12,700 B-17s and only five are actively flying today. Joining the Flying Fortress will be the B-25 Mitchell bomber Devil Dog, made famous in the 1942 raid over Tokyo. Alongside will be the ferocious P-63 King Cobra fighter, and the SB2C Helldiver dive bomber, the only one of its kind flying in the world today. The warbirds’ path will take them over Hollytree Golf Course, Christus Mother Frances Hospital, the University of Texas Health Center and the Watkins Logan Veterans Home. The aircraft will pass over the intersection of State Highway 69 and West NW Loop 323 on their return trip, all between 2:00 and 2:30 PM.
The public is encouraged to observe social distancing observing the aircraft from the ground along the route. There will be no public admission or opportunity to tour the aircraft at the airport.
All four of these historic warbirds will subsequently be performing in the Thunder Over Cedar Creek Lake Airshow on Saturday evening, July 4. For airshow details please visit https://www.tocclairshow.com
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday July 3, 4, and 5 the B-17 Flying Fortress and the SB2C Helldiver will be offering rides by appointment only at Tyler’s Historic Aviation Memorial Museum. The public is invited to take the ultimate Living History Flight Experience and see Tyler from the sky! A limited number of flights are available on the Flying Fortress, starting at $475; and on the Helldiver at $995. Ground tours will be not be conducted during the weekend. Those who wish to fly can call 855-FLY-A-B17 (1-855-359-2217) or reserve on line at B17TexasRaiders.org or see more on Facebook.com/B17TexasRaiders
In an effort to provide the safest possible environment for crews and attendees, extra sanitization procedures will be in place, including social distancing and face coverings required for aircraft access.