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A ball turret was a Plexiglas sphere set into the belly of a B-17 or B-24, and inhabited by two .50 caliber machine-guns and one man, a short small man. When this gunner tracked with his machine guns a fighter attacking his bomber from below, he revolved with the turret; hunched upside-down in his little sphere, he looked like the fetus in the womb. The fighters which attacked him were armed with cannon firing explosive shells. The hose was a steam hose. —Randall Jarrell, poet/author of “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner”

When you hear the B-24 bomber fly overhead this weekend — it should traverse the Preston Hollow, White Rock, Lake Highlands, Garland and Rockwall before circling Lake Ray Hubbard a couple of times before heading back to the Frontiers of Flight Museum on Lemmon Avenue — try to get a good look at it. It is the only one of its kind still in working order.

The B-24J Liberator Witchcraft WWII Heavy Bomber is one of several vintage planes in this weekend’s Wings of Freedom Tour, which honors WWII veterans. Through Sunday, in addition to the B-24, visitors will be allowed to look inside a vintage Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Nine-O-Nine WWII Heavy Bomber, a P-51 Mustang, known as one of the greatest piston-engine fighters ever built, and the Bell UH-1 “Huey” Helicopter.

The exhibit runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. through Sunday. Museum admission is $12 for adults and $7 for children under 12 and includes access to up-close viewing and tours through the inside of the aircraft. But if you are willing to fork over some bucks, you can actually fly in one of the aforementioned planes. A 30-minute ride on the B-17 or B-24 is $450 per person. Huey flights are $80-$100 and P-51 flights are $2,200-$3,200 and include some “stick time in the world’s greatest piston engine fighter,” organizers say.

Because not every WWII plane aficionado has hundreds of dollars lying around, the organizers of the so-called “flying circus” allowed some press on the B-24 earlier this week. Fortunately one of those was our photographer Danny Fulgencio — with support from yours truly — who brought back some amazing images from the land and sky.

Click on any photo to see a larger image or to view the whole slideshow:

Cover photo: WWII veterans John “Lucky” Luckadoo talks and Reynaldo A. Rodriguez prepare for a ride in the B-24 Witchcraft.


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