BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — This weekend, people across central Alabama will have the chance to get up close to a vital piece of history.
Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport will be showcasing WWII planes, many with fascinating backstories.
At the Shelby County Airport, this vintage blue and yellow plane is quite the eye catcher. It’s an 80-year-old plane from WII called the ‘PT-19.’ PT stands for “primary trainer.” A lot of young, nervous cadets learned how to fly in these planes on their path to becoming combat pilots. These pilots were 18, 19, 20 years old. they were flying starting out with this aircraft, then they are 20 years old, flying four-engine bomber over Germany while enemy fighters were trying to shoot them down.
This PT-19 belongs to the Birmingham wing of the Commemorative Air Force, a national group that finds old military planes and restores them. This is what the plane looked several years back when a pilot in Texas found what was left of it: just a pile of scrap.
Years later, it was restored to pristine condition.
Along with this plane, the Commemorative Air Force has saved 175 aircraft, most of them able to fly. Their mission will continue, as they preserve history, teach younger generations and honor those who bravely served our country so many years ago.
The viewing will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Atlantic Aviation ramp at Gate 28 of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth.