WEST MILFORD They were mass produced to turn the tide of World War II, and yet relatively few exist today, but at Greenwood Lake Airport on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 18 and 19, a handful of vintage aircraft will be on hand to honor all those who served, both then and now.
The aircraft, most notably a vintage B-25 Mitchell medium bomber named "Miss Hap," will be on display for both days of the air show. This aircraft was once owned by Howard Hughes and was the personal transport of General "Hap" Arnold. Also on hand will be a C-47 transport plane in D-Day markings and several Russian aircraft including a cold-war era L-29 jet.
Living history Special World War II veteran guests will provide a living history of the era.
Legendary Tuskegee Airmen Julius Freeman, Dr. Eugene J. Richardson, John L. Harrison, Jr., the African-American aviators who broke the race barrier during the war, will be on hand to speak with participants. The group, flying P-51 Mustang fighters from Italy, successfully escorted formations of American bombers deep into Germany and never lost an aircraft to enemy fighter action. President George W. Bush bestowed the congressional Gold Medal on the airmen in 2007.
Some notable veteran guests appearing will be:
2nd Lt. Jack Widowski - the navigator from the B-29 "Top Secret" of the famous atomic missions that brought World War II to a close.
Lt. Gottfried Dulias - this five-time flying ace was shot down over Russian territory in 1945, captured and sent into a Russian Gulag where he was forced to work 19-hour days hard labor in nearby factories. After three years inside the camp, weighing just 67 pounds, Gottfried was released and returned home in 1948.
Lt. JG Robert S. Krause - with over 1,200 hours of flight with the Navy, Krause was commissioned Ensign A-V and a designated naval aviator. He served as a flight instructor for British naval cadets.
Also on hand will be the The Army Air Forces Historical Association, an Oradell-based group of interactive living historians who provide tales of the harrowing experiences of World War II in the air with a nationally acclaimed interactive display. The group's fully operational Norden Bombsite, the only one of its kind on the East Coast, will allow visitors to "put one in the pickle barrel" during a simulated bomb run and experience the thrill, hazards, anxiety and accomplishment of combat flying from long ago.
Come mingle with World War II reenactors whose encampments and displays will history come to life in a way that can't be found in books or documentaries.
Excitement in the air There will also be aviation acts that will stun and excite fans both young and old.
The show has many top-flight air show performers, most notably headliner Gary Ward and sharing the spotlight will be the Twin Tigers Demo team, a dual vintage Russian Yak performance flown by Mark Sorenson and Buck Roetman. Also appearing will be returning favorite Jane Wicker and her wing walking act, Kirk Wicker and his comedy Cub performance, The Northeast Raiders, a 5-6 ship formation team, and featuring Hotwire Harry and his great escape, who will try to escape from Sheriff Roscoe of Aileron County Jail.
Each day from 11 until 4 p.m., aircraft will fill the skies, from formation flying to thrilling stunts, at an airfield that has its own share of unique history.
Greenwood Lake Airport is home to one of the last remaining examples of the Lockheed Constellation, a four-engine mainstay of passenger airline service in the 1940s and 1950s. Nicknamed "Connie," the aircraft is part of a flying legacy that was the forerunner of today's jetliner passenger service.
Make your plans Daily admission to the air show is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors (65 and over), $10 for children (ages 5 to 12). Children under age 5 are admitted free of charge. Gates are open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Parking is ample and food vendors will be on hand. There is also a car show and live music on the field as well.
Greenwood Lake Airport is located at 126 Airport Road in West Milford.
Join us for a weekend of excitement and history will make for an unforgettable and moving experience.
For more information on the air show and airport, visit www.greenwoodlakeairport.com or call 973-728-7721.