BRANSON — If you have ever wanted to see a B-25 Mitchell or the iconic B-29 Superfortress "FIFI," you now have the chance, as those planes along with others will be highlighted at the Branson Airport today and running through Sunday.

BRANSON — If you have ever wanted to see a B-25 Mitchell or the iconic B-29 Superfortress "FIFI," you now have the chance, as those planes along with others will be highlighted at the Branson Airport today and running through Sunday.
The Branson Airport, Branson Veterans Task Force and The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) are partnering together to bring the AirPower History Tour. A “hands-on” history lesson and flying museum will be held at the Branson Airport Jet Center, 130 Wright Brothers Rd., Hollister, Mo. (south of Branson). Gates are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and admission is $15 for adults, $5 for children ages 11-17, and children under age 10 are free.  Admission includes a free tour of the B-29, access to the aircraft, plus live music from Branson entertainers Saturday only. A portion of event proceeds to benefit the Branson Veterans Task Force in furthering this area's mission of serving and promoting America's Veterans.
"The main purpose of the event really is to highlight the World War II airplanes and the crews and really pay homage and honor the crews that not only flew them, but worked on them and kept them flying," said Ty Lewis, a media representative with the airport. "Because they are a vital part of our American history."

B-25
The B-25 first gained fame as the bomber used in the April 18, 1942 Doolittle Raid, in which 16 B-25Bs led by the legendary Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, attacked mainland Japan just four months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The mission gave a much-needed lift in spirits to the Americans, and alarmed the Japanese who had believed their home islands were inviolable by enemy troops. The raiders took off from the carrier U.S.S. Hornet and successfully bombed Tokyo and four other Japanese cities. Of the 80 aircrew, 69 survived their historic mission and eventually made it back to American lines.

B-29
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, first flown in 1942, began active service in 1944 and is perhaps best known as the aircraft whose missions over Japan helped bring about the end of World War II. It was designed as a replacement for the older B-17s and B-24s, with longer range and greater bomb loads. The B-29 was also used in the Korean War in the early 1950s and was a staple of the U.S. Air Force until the late 1950s.
"FIFI is one of only two flying B-29 Superfortresses in the world," Lewis noted.

Local interest
Neosho resident Glen Crumbliss trained at five different duty stations for three months each to become a B-17 bomber pilot during World War II.
"I enjoyed every minute of my training,” Crumbliss said.  “I liked to fly.”
During World War II, Crumbliss flew his B-17 on 21 missions. Twenty of them were over Germany.
“We’d get up and have breakfast before briefing at 4:30 each morning,” Crumbliss said. “When we were seated, they’d open a curtain and there would be a big map showing us where we’d go on that day. We knew the ack-ack (anti-aircraft) was close if we saw a red spot in the center of the explosion. Then you knew there would be some shrapnel hitting the plane.”

Other aircraft
Joining the planes will be the P-51 Mustang, T-6 Texan, T-34 Mentor, C-45 Expeditor, and PT-13 Stearman.  Additional aircraft will be in attendance select days to include a Vietnam Era AC-47 gunship “Spooky” aka, Puff The Magic Dragon.  The public may purchase rides on all of the CAF aircraft by going online to www.AirpowerSquadron.org or day of the event on a space-available basis.
Neosho-based Stunt Pilot Kyle Franklin of Franklin’s Flying Circus and Airshows will perform 3 limited aerobatic shows. Two on Saturday, Sept. 16 at noon and 4 p.m. and one on Sunday, Sept. 17 at noon.  www.franklinairshow.com.