LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Spirit of Freedom, an actual transport aircraft that flew in the 1948-1949 Berlin Airlift and is now a flying museum about the operation, is visiting the Aviation Museum of Kentucky during October 6-8 at Blue Grass Airport.
The aircraft will be on the airport ramp for public tours. One charge will provide admission to the museum and to the aircraft. Admission is $10 for adults 17 and up; $7 for children 6-16; under five, free admission.
Hours are 10a-5p Friday and Saturday, October 6 and 7, and 1p-5p on Sunday October 8.
Due to FAA regulations, flights in the aircraft cannot be offered.
The Spirit of Freedom is a Douglas C-54 Skymaster and is operated by the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation of New Jersey.
Its exterior is painted in the colors of the 48th Troop Carrier Squadron, one of the units that participated in the Berlin Airlift.
American planes flew nearly 92 million miles and completed over 189,900 missions, flying food, supplies and coal from then Allied-occupied West Germany into Berlin, surrounded by Soviet-held territory that later became East Germany.
The Airlift became known as Operation Vittles, brought about by a Soviet blockade of land routes into the city. The French and British air forces participated as well. Cargo flights began on June 26, 1948 and ended September 30, 1949.
Over 1.5 million tons of supplies were flown in to assure that citizens in the Allied zones of Berlin would survive.
“The Spirit tells the story of our country at one of its finest hours,” said museum board chair Jim McCormick. “It is also US Air Force history, America on the world stage, the Cold War, and something every American can be proud of.”
The Aviation Museum of Kentucky is a non-profit institution and is home to the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame. It is the official aviation museum of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
It is located at 4029Airport Road, adjacent to Blue Grass Airport.