Someone who saw a modern-looking jet such as the German Messerschmitt Me 262 fly, without a propeller, in the 1930s probably felt as if they were looking at a flying saucer, a staff member from the Collings Foundation said.
More than any aircraft of its day, the fighter “was a fighter of unrivaled potential,” according to the Collings Foundation website.
And the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport will be the first stop to debut the German jet nationwide, Chaney said.
World War II veterans will welcome the German jet that has a more modern engine, along with other vintage aircraft from the World War II and the Vietnam eras when the Wings of Freedom Tour lands its fleet at the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport on Friday.
Visitors are invited to take ground tours, get close-up looks at the planes and take rides in some — for a charge. The nationwide tour is in its 24th year and visits an average of 110 cities in more than 35 states annually. Since its start, tens of millions of people have seen the B-17, B-24 and P-51 on display at many locations, according to the Foundation.
The B-17 & B-24 were the backbone of the American effort during the war from 1942 to 1945 and were famous for their ability to sustain damage and still accomplish the mission, the Foundation said.
Despite the risks of anti-aircraft fire, attacking enemy fighters and the harrowing environment of sub-zero temperatures, many B-17s and B-24s safely brought their crews home. The P-51 Mustang was affectionately known as the bombers’ “Little Friend” — saving countless American crews from enemy fighters, according to the Foundation.
“We have visited Tyler about six times with the tour, but we didn’t visit last year,” Chaney said. “Tyler has always been a great stop for us,” he said.
The tour travels the nation as a flying tribute to the flight crews who flew them, the ground crews who maintained them, the workers who built them, the soldiers, sailors and airmen they helped protect, and the citizens and families who share the freedom they helped preserve, the Foundation said.
Visitors can find more information at www.collingsfoundation.org. or at www.tylerhamm.com.