If you saw something overhead last weekend that looked like it came out of one of John Wayne’s World War II movies, you weren’t hallucinating.
Among the regular air traffic in the area — you know, Boeing 747s, McDonnell Douglas MD-88s and Leer Jets, for example — you also might have noticed a P-51 Mustang or a much larger Boeing B-29 Superfortress.
They were among the aircraft on display as DuPage Airport served as the stage last weekend for these pieces of living history, which took to the skies and cruised overhead during the annual Community Days weekend.
The two-day event on Saturday, Aug. 11, and Sunday, Aug. 12, drew thousands — families, veterans, and aviation enthusiasts of all ages, according to a release from the airport. The Commemorative Air Force offered rides in its vintage P-51 and FIFI — the B-29 Superfortress.
“It’s not every day you get a glimpse of world history in your own backyard,” said David Bird, executive director of DuPage Airport. “It was a privilege to be able to celebrate our nation’s veterans with our community.”
The United States flew the Boeing B-29 primarily during World War II and the Korean War. B-29s were the aircraft that dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki more more than 67 years ago, the release states.
“The Commemorative Air Force was delighted to return to DuPage this year with FIFI,” said Gerald Oliver of the Commemorative Air Force’s B-29 Team. “The turnout exceeded our expectations and we thank our gracious hosts for allowing us to display this aviation treasure to the community of DuPage.”
According to the release, event attendees also had the option of taking introductory flight lessons, guided cockpit tours and getting an up-close look at some of the airport’s machinery, such as other vintage military vehicles, other aircraft and the airport’s own snow-removal equipment, which can move 6,000 tons of snow per hour.
“Our doors are always open to our neighbors,” Bird said. “We want to see aviation’s popularity continue to grow and we invite residents of DuPage back anytime.”