The National Warplane Museum is sending two of its aircraft on a mission Saturday to salute area medical personnel and essential workers serving during the coronavirus pandemic.
The NWM’s Douglas C-47, affectionately named Whiskey-7, will take to the skies Saturday morning, accompanied by one other aircraft, a P-51 Mustang named Mad Max, for Operation Thanks From Above, Southern Tier.
The planes are scheduled to lift off at approximately 10 a.m. from Geneseo, flying southwest to Long Point State Park (expected arrival 10:37 a.m.) on Lake Chautauqua and then turning east to Jamestown and UPMC Chautauqua (10:41 a.m.).
The flight schedule has the planes arriving over Salamanca and Universal Primary Care (10:52 a.m.) and then Bradford, Pa. and Bradford Regional Medical Center (10:58 a.m.).
Then the flight will wing northeast to Allegany and St. Bonaventure University (11:03 a.m.) and then Olean and Olean General Hospital (11:05 a.m.) and UPC Olean (11:07 a.m.).
The flight will then wing to Wellsville and Jones Memorial Hospital (11:13 a.m.) and pass over Andover (11:16 a.m.) on the way to Southern Tier points in Steuben County and farther east, touching down for fuel in Binghamton.
NWM officials point out that the flight schedule could change due to weather or other circumstances. Folks on the ground are advised to keep watch on NWM’s social media pages and website for updates.
You can also track Whiskey-7, in real time, the day of the flyover on the app that is downloadable for free in the app store: Flightradar24. Then simply search for the plane: N345AB. Once the plane is in the air, you will see it displayed in the tracking map.
Of course the C-47 and the P-51 are iconic aircraft from World War II, both playing critical roles on — as it happens — June 6, 1944, which was D-Day, the Allied invasion of Europe.
Seventy-six years ago a fleet of C-47s carried the men of the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions (or towed their gliders) to deliver the paratroopers behind the Nazis’ coastal defenses at Normandy, France.
P-51 fighter pilots flew countless sorties providing air cover for the invasion forces as well as to strafe German positions and columns behind the beaches.
And Saturday, the two aircraft will embark on a mission of today — Operation Thanks From Above, Southern Tier.