WMU News

Historic B-24 "Liberator" comes to Kellogg Airport

July 22, 2003

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- The world's oldest flying four-engine plane, the B-24A bomber is coming to Battle Creek's W.K. Kellogg Airport for a public viewing July 29 through August 3 at the Western Michigan University College of Aviation.

Named "Diamond Lil," the B24A "Liberator" will be on display at the college's ramp, located just north of its Aviation Flight Operations building. Hours of operation will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission to view the planes is $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 9-12. Children under 9 will be admitted free. There will be an additional charge to view the inside of the aircraft, and a limited number of half-hour local flights for those over 18 are offered for $350. All proceeds from admissions go to the operation of the aircraft and are tax-deductible.

The B-24A was one of the most recognizable planes used by Allied forces during World War II. First flown as a bomber, it was designed to be used as a long-range patrol plane to protect maritime convoys supplying England and the Allies prior to the entrance of the United States into World War II. With the largest fuel tank capacity of any plane of the era, the plane would make runs of 12 to 15 hours, searching for German U-boats in the Atlantic Ocean.

"Diamond Lil," was converted during the war to a VIP transport plane, flying leaders and heads of state to locations around the world. The "Liberator" bombers outperformed the famous B-17s, and were able to reach cruise speeds of more than 200 mph. Almost 19,000 of the bombers were built during the war, but "Diamond Lil" is one of only two in operation today.

The visit is part of a 12-city national tour by the Commemorative Air Force, designed to allow the public to see a part of aviation history. The CAF is a non-profit-organization of volunteers who maintain the flying condition of the world's largest collection of aircraft from 1939-1945. With a world-class museum in Midland, Texas, the CAF has more than 100 vintage planes, many the last of their type. For more information about the Battle Creek visit, contact (269) 387-8427.

EDITORS--A media flight is offered by the Commemorative Air Force on the plane's initial flight to Battle Creek. The B24 is scheduled to leave Traverse City on Monday, July 28. If you are interested in having a member of your staff take a flight on the aircraft, contact the CAF at (432) 413-4100 or at CAFColJim@cs.com. The plane is scheduled to land at the Battle Creek Airport, Monday July 28 at 2 p.m.

Media contact: Matt Gerard, 269 387-8400, matthew.gerard@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400