Santa Barbara- S County

World War Two Planes at Santa Maria Airport

Tours, flights include only flying B-29 bomber

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Its your chance to step back, and fly back, in time at the Santa Maria Airport.

Vintage World War Two-era planes are on display and making commemorative flights.

Its believed to be the only B-29 bomber still flying anywhere in the world.

The B-29 was the improved version of the stalwart B-17 and B-25.

"This was the first, completely pressurized bomber that the Army Air Corps had", says B-29 Bomber pilot Matt Younkin, "it could fly at about 10,000 feet higher than the B-17 and carry well over twice the bomb-load and go quite a bit faster."

The B-29 is now part of the Commemorative Air Force which has stopped off for a short time at the Santa Maria Airport for tours and guest flights.

"This is like the same aircraft that dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that brought an end to the war", Younkin says.

The Commemorative Air force has become a flying history book for post-world war two generations.

"Every stop we meet family members and the World War II folks themselves are becoming too few and far between", says C-45 Pilot Jonathan Oliver, "their family members come out and its a very emotional experience for them to see these aircraft and sit in the same seats that their family members sat in."

But as time marches on these vintage air shows may eventually fly off into the history books as well.

"As time goes on there's going to be less and less an opportunity to get World War II aircraft here, age and all the stress on the air frames is going to make a difference", says Mike Geddry of the Santa Maria Museum of Flight, "it helps to revitalize our history because most of the current generation couldn't even tell you about World War II, couldn't tell you when actually Pearl Harbor was, or what happened in germany, its unfortunate, I don't think they teach enough American history any more I wish they did."

The vintage World War Two aircraft will be open to tours and flights through the end of Wednesday at the Santa Maria Airport.

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