Bomber Days was well attended – Thanks for visiting!

An estimated 1,500 to 2,000 people attended Bomber Days at Pittsburgh-Butler Regional Airport from Aug. 16 to 18.
The Collings Foundation’s “Wings of Freedom Tour” brought its B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine;” B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft” and B-25 Mitchell “Tondelayo,” and P-51 Mustang “Toulouse Nuts.”
Visitors, which included more than two dozen veterans of World War II, explored the aircraft and shared stories about how their lives were connected to the airplanes.
A number of people also opted to purchase a flight in the aircraft.
Thanks to the Collings Foundation and everyone who helped.

“Wings of Freedom” to Visit August 16th to 18th

In honor of our WWII Veterans ~ The Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour Brings Extremely Rare Bomber and Fighter Aircraft for Local Living History Display as Part of 110-city Nationwide Tour.

WHAT: Participating in the Collings Foundation’s WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR, the WWII Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine” WWII Heavy Bomber, Consolidated B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft” WWII Heavy Bomber and North American B-25 Mitchell “Tondelayo” mid range bomber and P-51 Mustang fighter “Toulouse Nuts,” will fly into the Pittsburgh-Butler Regional Airport for a visit from August 16th to 18th.
This is a rare opportunity to visit, explore, and learn more about these unique and rare treasures of aviation history. The B-17 is one of only 8 in flying condition in the United States, the B-24J is the sole remaining example of its type flying in the World. The B-25 is best known for being used in the daring Doolittle raid. The P-51 Mustang was awarded Grand Champion for restoration at EAA’s Oshkosh AirVenture.
Visitors are invited to explore the aircraft inside and out – $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12 is requested for access to up-close viewing and tours through the inside of the aircraft.
Visitors may also experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually take a 30-minute flight aboard these rare aircraft. Flights on either the B-17 or B-24 are $450 per person. Get some “stick time” in the world’s greatest fighter! P-51 flights are $2,200 for a half hour and $3,200 for a full hour. B-25 flights are $400 per person. For reservations and information on flight experiences call 800-568-8924.

WHERE: The WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR will be on display at the Pittsburgh-Butler Regional Airport, 475 Airport Road.

WHEN: The WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR will arrive at the Butler Airport at 2 PM on August 16th and will be on display until the aircraft departs after 12 PM operations on August 18th. Hours of ground tours and display are: 2 PM to 5 PM on Wednesday, August 16th, 9 AM to 5 PM, Thursday, August 17th and 9 AM to 120 PM, Friday, August 18th.
The 30-minute flight experiences are normally scheduled before and after the ground tour times above.

WHO: The Collings Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit educational foundation devoted to organizing “living history” events that allows people to learn more about their heritage and history through direct participation. The Nationwide WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR is celebrating its 28th year and visits an average of 110 cities in over 35 states annually. Since its start, tens of millions of people have seen the B-17, B-24, B-25 & P-51 display at locations everywhere. The WINGS OF FREEDOM tour is one of the most extraordinary and unique interactive traveling historical displays of its kind.

WHY: The WINGS OF FREEDOM TOUR travels the nation as a flying tribute to the flight crews who flew them, the ground crews who maintained them, the workers who built them, the soldiers, sailors and airmen they helped protect; and the citizens and families that share the freedom that they helped preserve.
The B-17, B-25 & B-24 were the backbone of the American effort during the war from 1942 to 1945 and were famous for their ability to sustain damage and still accomplish the mission. Despite the risks of anti-aircraft fire, attacking enemy fighters, and the harrowing environment of sub-zero temperatures, many B-17s and B-24s safely brought their crews home. The P-51 Mustang was affectionately known as the bombers “Little Friend” – saving countless crews from attacking axis fighters. After the war, many aircraft were scrapped for their raw aluminum to rebuild a nation in post-war prosperity and therefore very few were spared. The rarity of the B-17, B-25, B-24 & P-51 – and their importance to telling the story of WWII is why the Collings Foundation continues to fly and display the aircraft nationwide. At each location we encourage local veterans and their families to visit and share their experiences and stories with the public. For aviation enthusiasts, the tour provides opportunity for the museum to come to the visitor and not the other way around! Visitors can find out more by visiting our website at

Welcome High Flight Academy

Pittsburgh-Butler Regional Airport is happy to announce the opening of its newest tenant business, High Flight Academy.

A full-service flight school, High Flight Academy offers students ground school taught in classrooms as well as a RedBird FMX Flight Simulator. In-air instruction takes place in general aviation aircraft, including a Cessna 172.

“We’re happy to be at Pittsburgh-Butler Regional Airport – it’s a great location to learn to fly, just north of Pittsburgh’s airspace. And it’s convenient for drivers just a mile off Route 8,” said Chris Hayden, operations manager.

High Flight Academy is located in Hangar C-1 at 475 Airport Road, which is the former location of the Airport Authority office. The school can be reached at 724-481-1359 or

Bomber Days Schedule

The Collings Foundation will spend three days at the Pittsburgh-Butler Regional Airport with the 2017 Wings of Freedom Tour.

B-17, B-24, and B-25 Bombers from the World War II Era, as well as a P-51 Mustang Fighter (the two seater training version, which is a TF-51D) are expected to be here.

Walk Through Tour Times (no reservations needed):
8/16/2017 – 2:00 PM till 5:00 PM
8/17/2017 – 9:00 AM till 5:00 PM
8/18/2017 – 9:00 AM till 12:00 PM
$15 Adults / $5 Children 12 and under.

Most flights occur in the early morning before 9 am or later in the afternoon near 5 pm. Flexibility is key to scheduling a flight, as they are subject to passenger loads and weather.

30-minute flight on the B-17 or B-24 is $450 per person
30-minute flight on the B-25 is $400 per person
30-minute flight training on the TF-51D is $2200
60-minute flight training on the TF-51D is $3200

Call 800-568-8924 in advance of the visit to schedule a spot on a flight. If you reach a voice mail recording, please leave contact information and the coordinator will get back to you as soon as possible.

Visit for more information.

Young Eagles Take Off!

PENN TWP – The buzz at the Pittsburgh-Butler Regional Airport’s community hangar Saturday was consistent and excited.

Sure, six general aviation planes were taking off and landing at a swift and steady rate. But it was the children — 110 in all that — that kept the hum alive with giggling, ohhing, awing and snapping photos in eager anticipation of their first flight in an airplane.

Six pilots from the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 857, all volunteers, flew every child between the ages of 8 and 17 who attended the five-hour event.

For free.

“We just want to give kids the chance to get involved in aviation,” said pilot Chuck Potts of Zelienople. “Out of 20 or so who participate, maybe one will go into aviation.”

While some of the pilots seated two or three children in a trip, Potts only could take passengers one at a time in his plane: a Taylorcraft L2A. A crowd favorite, the L2A was built for observation and liaison during World War II.

Potts said he’s flown more than 100 children over the years, and he’s never had one get sick in his plane. But he has had participants come back years later to tell him they joined the Air Force Academy.

“That’s what it’s all about,” said Potts, who worked more than two decades as a safety inspector for the FAA before retiring.

Even prior to Saturday’s event, which mirrored International Young Eagles Day, members of EAA Chapter 857 had flown more than 2,400 children, according to coordinator Debie Santolla.

“I have never seen a child come back and say they didn’t have a good time,” said Santolla, who’s been a part of the local program since its inception.

The International Young Eagles program is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. This chapter has been around about 17 of those years. It moved from Zelienople to the Pittsburgh-Butler Regional Airport in Penn Township about five years ago.

After registering, the children were taken to a classroom inside the hangar and given a 20-minute “ground school” class on safety and why planes fly.

They then hopped in a plane for about a half hour, flying through the blue skies over Lake Arthur and back. Some children who were lucky enough to land a front seat were given the opportunity to fly the plane for a moment or two while in the air.

At the conclusion of the flight, the children were given a certificate signed by the pilot and an access code to receive “Sporty’s Pilot” magazine for free.

The EAA Chapter 857, which generates its funds through membership dues and the sale of food and beverages at the events, uses its money to pay for scholarships for children to attend the Oshkosh Air Academy Camp in Wisconsin.

The children to receive the scholarships, annually about three, will be selected from all the Young Eagles flown by this chapter this year. If they are interested in attending the camp, they make that note on their Young Eagles registration, and in January they will be asked to write an essay.

But for most of the children participating, the flight alone was the big draw.

“She’s so excited,” Missy Miller of Slippery Rock said while waiting in line with her daughter, 9-year-old Belle. “This is her first time up in the air.”

Capt. Larry Schaefer was Belle’s pilot. She flew with her friend Morgan Teets, 10, of Slippery Rock and Brandon McMasters, 10, of Butler.

The EAA Chapter 857’s next events at Pittsburgh-Butler Regional Airport are August 13 and Sept. 10. Watch the airport’s Facebook page for more details. And get more information about the EAA Chapter 857 here:


Fabulous First Flight!

There was so much to enjoy about his first ever flight in a general aviation airplane that Kenneth Spinneweber just couldn’t pick a favorite.

“II loved it all,” he said after about a half-hour in the skies over Pittsburgh-Butler Regional Airport.

Spinneweber, 13, of Butler won the airport’s Facebook post contest at Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau’s Celebrate Butler County event earlier this year.

He collected his prize — a Discovery Flight courtesy of the airport’s Fixed Base Operator, AirQuest Aviation — this past weekend.

Kenneth generously selected his brother Leo, 8, to be his passenger. And together they flew over some familiar sites including their home and the school they attend: St. Luke Lutheran in Cabot.

Kenneth, who has an interest in aviation, already is a member of the Civil Air Patrol 712.

“He definitely can not wait to fly again,” said his mother Trina Carl Spinneweber.

Young Eagles get ready for take off!

Get ready to celebrate all the Young Eagles out there!

Children can experience their first flight in an airplane FREE as part of the International Young Eagles Day.

The event is June 10 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Pittsburgh-Butler Regional Airport, 473 Airport Road, Butler, Pa. 16002

The Young Eagles program, launched in 1992, gives interested young people an opportunity to go flying in a general aviation airplane.

Participants, ages 8 to 17, will need a form (available at the event) completed and signed by a parent or guardian before the flight. This form also enrolls the participant in the Young Eagles National Log Book, and provides him or her with a commemorative certificate afterward. There is no cost before or after the flight.

The flights, which begin with a “ground school” discussion of what makes an airplane fly and includes other educational elements, are made possible through the generosity of EAA member volunteers. , This event is sponsored by EAA Chapter 857.

The first ground school begins at 9:30 a.m. The in-air flight lasts between 15 and 20 minutes. The pilot might allow the participant to take the controls!

Hot dogs, hamburgers, and soda will be available for purchase at the event.

This is not a fly-in. The group’s planned Breakfast Fly-Ins are scheduled for August 13 and Sept. 10.

Learn more at the EAA Chapter 857 here: Chapter