For years Florida’s Kissimmee Gateway Airport (ISM) was known affectionately as “Bombertown USA,” where visitors could see World War II bombers being restored back to their former glory. Those days are returning to Kissimmee, but now visitors will not only be able to see these planes, but fly in them as well. Come Spring expect a migration of bombers and other warbirds to the Kissimmee Air Museum.
In March, the B-25 “Panchito” (pictured) will return to Kissimmee Gateway Airport where it was restored 15 years ago. It will be stationed at the Kissimmee Air Museum for both static tours and flights.
Larry Kelley restored the B-25J as “Panchito” He and his crew now fly the bomber for the Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation, preserving and sharing the history of the 396 Bomb Squadron, 41st Bomb Group, 7th Air Force.
On April 2, 3 and 4, flights in “Panchito” will be available for a $400 donation per passenger. Seating is on a first come-first served basis for the crew chief “jump seat” behind the pilot/copilot, two seats under the top turret, and two waist gunner seats.
Another VIP (Very Important Plane) will be visiting the museum this spring, the Collings Foundations’ B-25J “Tondelayo.” Half-hour flight training is available for $2,000 while the Mitchell is based at the Kissimmee Air Museum.
The Collings Foundation is dedicated to preserving and sharing aviation history. Its Wings of Freedom Nationwide Tour is a living history display and flying museum that offers tours and flights about a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Consolidated B-24 Liberator, and North American P-51C Mustang. The Collings Foundation’s F4U-5 Corsair has been on display at the Kissimmee Air Museum during the Wings of Freedom’s Tour winter hiatus.
For more information: 407-870-7366 or KissimmeeAirMuseum.com.