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Connecticut to host World War II fighter planes this weekend

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Connecticut aviation buffs, this weekend's for you.

Three vintage World War II combat aircraft will land at Waterbury-Oxford Airport, as part of the "Wings of Freedom" tour, September 5-7.

The planes include two bombers and a P-17 Mustang fighter, one of only eight that remain in flying condition in the United States, according to the Collings Foundation, a non-profit historic preservation society.

One of two heavy bombers on the tour, the B-24 Liberator is named "Witchcraft" and served in England and helped liberate Nazi-occupied lands.

Names of every pilot, radio operator and gunner who served on board are painted across the fuselage of the plane.

"Nine-O-Nine" is a massive B-17 "Flying Fortress" with a 103-foot wingspan and four machine gun positions, including two "ball turrets" where gunners sat inside a glass ball and fired at enemy planes.

The heavy bombers were the backbone of the American effort during the war from 1942 to 1945 and were famous for their ability to sustain damage and still accomplish the mission, according to the Collings Foundation.

"The P-51 Mustang was affectionately known as the bomber's 'little friend' – saving countless crews from attacking Axis fighters.

"After the war, many aircraft were scrapped for their raw aluminum to rebuild a nation in post-war prosperity and therefore very few were spared," Collings said.

Visitors will have the chance to see the planes up close and even climb inside.

Admission is $12 for adults, $6 for children under 12, and veterans will be admitted free of charge.

Hours are Friday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9.a.m. to 5 p.m.

After Oxford, the tour will visit Groton-New London Airport September 8-10, then head to Nashua, New Hampshire.

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