While it is a little close to the date for most people to act on, Warbirds News would like to highlight the upcoming Living History Event this Saturday, March 1st, at the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California. These are always fascinating opportunities to learn about aviation history from people who actually helped create it. And the March 1st opportunity is no exception. Two decorated WWII veteran fighter pilots, Capt. Wayne L. Coleman and Lt. Raymond Biel will discuss their experiences flying long range escort missions in the European and Pacific Theatres respectively. The Museum’s P-51D Mustang will also be on display and perform a flight demonstration, weather and machine permitting.
The two men are sure to give an absorbing account of their extraordinary activities in WWII. Captain Wayne L. Coleman joined the Army Air Force in January 1943, being posted to the 82nd Squadron, 78th Fighter Group at Duxford, near Cambridge in July 1944. He flew the first of his 75 combat missions a few days later on August 2nd in P-47s, dive-bombing and strafing in support of the Normandy invasion before converting to P-51s at the end of the year. Wayne shot down three Fw190s in a single mission and later an Me262 jet. He flew continuously until the end of the war.
And 2nd Lt. Raymond P. Biel has a fascinating history as well. He was one of 30 pilots who flew on the atomic bomb missions over Japan. At 92 years young, Ray never dreamed that he would be involved with the 509th Composite Group of the U.S. Air Force in top secret activities. Ray copiloted the B-29 called ‘Full House’ that carried out weather reconnaissance over the targeted cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. He co-piloted ‘Full House’ that was to target Kokura, but due to overcast weather conditions, he and his crew flew on to Nagasaki, his B-29 carrying the back-up atomic bomb. On that August day in 1945, he had not realized that his actions had ushered in the nuclear era.
Kevin Thompson (POF Moderator and Aviation Historian) and Edward Maloney (Museum Founder & Curator, and Aviation Historian) will moderate the conversation, and there will also be a question and answer session afterwards.
Museum doors will open to the public at 9am, and the presentation will begin at 10am, concluding at roughly 12pm. At 12:00 noon, the Membership Sponsored raffle flight will occur in the featured aircraft if possible. Become a member to enter the raffle. All members are eligible to enter the raffle, but you must be present to win. This will be an amazing experience for all!
Planes of Fame Air Museum
7000 Merrill Avenue #17
Chino, CA 91710