BLOUNTVILLE — Several passengers paid for an airplane ride at Tri-Cities Airport that may have been noisier and less comfortable than modern airliners, but they also got immersed in what thousands of young Americans experienced over Europe from 1942 to 1945.
The Commemorative Air Force’s Arizona Wing is making a repeat appearance at the airport through Sunday with its B-17G Flying Fortress, “Sentimental Journey.”
Sporting a polished aluminum skin and a portrait of WWII pinup Betty Grable on both sides of its nose, the “Fort” carried relays of passengers for 20- to 30-minute hops over the Tri-Cities under a mix of clouds and sunshine as its payloads of young and old experienced the roar and vibration of four Wright radials — without the threat of cannon-firing German Messerschmitt and Focke Wulf fighters making attacks from 12 o’clock high.
“Sentimental Journey” and two Piper Cubs in civilian and military D-Day warpaint will be on display between the Tri-Cities Airport and Tri-Cities Aviation terminals through Sunday.
Admission is free onto the ramp to view displays. A tour of “Sentimental Journey” is $10 per person or $20 for a family of four. Rides in “Sentimental Journey” are $425 for a seat near the waist gun windows or $850 for seating in the bombardier and navigator nose compartment.