They are time machines of aluminum and steel. Museums powered by aerogas and American might.

They are the planes that fought the greatest conflict in the history of the world.

They are the blunt instruments of freedom.

And the Collings Foundation is sending the Wings of Freedom tour again to Casper.

The B-17 Flying Fortress bore the bulk of 8th Air force missions over German occupied Europe.

Joined by the B-24 Liberator, they were the one-two punch of the Mighty 8th.

All were sitting ducks for German fighters until the arrival of the P-51 Mustang and it’s Rolls Royce Merlin engine sounding like ripping silk.

Our journey began in Shreveport where we boarded the B-24 Liberator, the plane flown by men like Jimmy Stewart, Lloyd Bentson and George McGovern…and Roy Fulco.

“I was a real double-barrel rookie,” he joked.

After pre-flight checks, the bomb bay was closed and we powered up.

Watching Roy during takeoff it was apparent the Liberator was a time machine…taking him back to 9 missions over Germany; long, loud, dangerous flights where gunners were always on alert for fighters, and if nature called, there was the ultimate in luxury lavatories.

Back to the mission where he had to bail out of a burning plane at 23,000 feet and spent 8 months as a POW.

And then, all too soon, it is over as our 23-tons of living history sets down on the runway.

Our flight was over, but you can book a seat for a flight or a tour in any of the World War Two aircraft.

So, if you want to see, smell and touch a bit of history, the Wings of Freedom will be at Natrona County International Airport next to Good's Warbirds through the weekend.

As for Roy…

“How’d you like the flight?” we asked.

“It was OK,” he laughed.

I want to personally thank KETK-TV in Tyler,Texas for permission to re-use my story on the historic warbirds.

Here are the details from the Collings Foundation about the Casper visit…

WHAT: Participating in the Collings Foundation’s WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR, the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine” WWII Heavy Bomber, Consolidated B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft” WWII Heavy Bomber and P-51 Mustang fighter, will fly into Casper/Natrona County International Airport in Casper, WY for a visit from July 3 to July 5. This is a rare opportunity to visit, explore, and learn more about these unique and rare treasures of aviation history. The B-17 is one of only 8 in flying condition in the United States, the B-24J and Full Dual Control P-51C Mustang are the sole remaining examples of their type flying in the World.

Visitors are invited to explore the aircraft inside and out - $12 for adults and $6 for children under 12 is requested for access to up-close viewing and tours through the inside of the aircraft. WWII Veterans can tour through the aircraft at no cost. Discounted rates for school groups. Visitors may also experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually take a 30-minute flight aboard these rare aircraft. Flights on either the B-17 or B-24 are $450 per person. Get some “stick time” in the world’s greatest fighter! P-51 flights are $2,200 for a half hour and $3,200 for a full hour. For reservations and information on flight experiences call 800-568-8924.

WHERE: The WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR will be on display at Casper/Natrona County International Airport in Casper, located at Good Warbirds, 8220 Fuller Street.

WHEN: The WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR will arrive at Casper/Natrona County International Airport at 2:00 PM on July 3 and will be on display at Good Warbirds at Casper/Natrona County International Airport until the aircraft departs Monday July 6.

Hours of ground tours and display are: 2:00 PM through 5:00 PM on Friday, July 3; 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM on Saturday, July 4; 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM on Sunday, July 5. The 30-minute flight experiences are normally scheduled before and after the ground tour times above.

WHO: The Collings Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit educational foundation devoted to organizing “living history” events that allows people to learn more about their heritage and history through direct participation. The Nationwide WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR is celebrating its 26th year and visits an average of 110 cities in over 35 states annually. Since its start, tens of millions of people have seen the B-17, B-24 & P-51 display at locations everywhere. The WINGS OF FREEDOM tour is one of the most extraordinary and unique interactive traveling historical displays of its kind.