At air show, WWII veterans revisit planes they once flew in

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NTP: World War II Air Show
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At air show, WWII veterans revisit planes they once flew in
Jesse Adams, 13, helps his great grandfather, World War II veteran Clarence Mingee, 90, as he boards "Fifi," a B-29 Superfortress bomber, for a flight at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Mingee flew missions in a B-29 during the war. The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
World War II veteran David Oreck, 92, talks with pilot Tom Travis, right, before flying aboard "Fifi," a B-29 Superfortress bomber, at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Oreck flew missions in a B-29 during the war. The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Crew members Alan Taylor, left, and Curtis Wester man their stations as they taxi for takeoff in the B-29 Superfortress bomber "Fifi", at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Crew member Alan Taylor performs a walk around for the B-29 Superfortress bomber "Fifi," before a flight at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
World War II veteran David Oreck, 92, center, sits in the bombardier seat of the B-29 Superfortress bomber "Fifi," during a flight over New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Oreck flew missions in a B-29 during the war. The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
The B-29 Superfortress bomber "Fifi', flies over Lake Pontchartain and New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
World War II veteran David Fisher, 89, looks out the window of the B-29 Superfortress bomber "Fifi," during a flight over New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Fisher flew missions in a B-29 during the war. The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
World War II veteran Clarence Mingee, 90, is hugged by his great grandchildren after flying aboard "Fifi," a B-29 Superfortress bomber, at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Mingee flew missions in a B-29 during the war. The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Pilot Tom Travis flies the B-29 Superfortress bomber "Fifi" over New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
The B-29 Superfortress bomber "Fifi" takes flight at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
World War II veteran Clarence Mingee, 90, climbs through "Fifi," a B-29 Superfortress bomber, after a flight at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Mingee flew missions in a B-29 during the war. The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
World War II veteran David Fisher, 89, rests his hands on a map as he looks out the window of the B-29 Superfortress bomber "Fifi," during a flight over New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Fisher flew missions in a B-29 during the war. The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
World War II veteran Martin Biener, 93, right, reviews his photos on his phone as he sits aboard the B-25 Mitchell bomber "Yellow Rose" with fellow veteran Paul Miller, 90, during a flight over New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Both men flew missions in B-25's during the war.The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Rebecca Santana)
A World War II P-51C fighter plane takes off behind the nose of the B-29 Superfortress bomber "Fifi," at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The planes, part of the Commemorative Air Force, are in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Co-pilot Phil Bonasera, aboard the B-25 Mitchell bomber "Yellow Rose," waves as it taxis after landing at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The planes, part of the Commemorative Air Force, are in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Flight engineer Rick Garvis works his controls during a flight in the B-29 Superfortress bomber "Fifi" over New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
World War II veteran Mike Fedirko signs the bomb bay door of the B-25 Mitchell bomber "Yellow Rose" after he flew aboard the plane at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Fedirko flew missions in a B-25 during the war. The planes, part of the Commemorative Air Force, are in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
World War II veteran David Oreck, 92, is hugged by family and friends after flying aboard "Fifi," a B-29 Superfortress bomber, at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Oreck flew missions in a B-29 during the war. The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
The B-25 Mitchell bomber "Yellow Rose" taxis in front of a Cessna Citation jet after landing at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The bomber, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
World War II veteran Victor Hancock, 92, talks to reporters after flying aboard the B-25 Mitchell bomber "Yellow Rose" at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Hancock flew missions in a B-25 during the war. The planes, part of the Commemorative Air Force, are in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
The B-29 Superfortress bomber "Fifi" descends on final approach at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
World War II veteran Mike Fedirko, 91, walks underneath the B-25 Mitchell bomber "Yellow Rose" after he flew aboard the plane at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Fedirko flew missions in a B-25 during the war. The planes, part of the Commemorative Air Force, are in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
World War II veterans Martin Biener, 93, smiles after flying aboard the B-25 Mitchell bomber "Yellow Rose" at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Beiner flew missions in B-25's during the war.The plane, part of the Commemorative Air Force, is in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A commemorative patch decorates the shirt if World War II veteran Victor Hancock, 92, as he talks to reporters after flying aboard the B-25 Mitchell bomber "Yellow Rose" at New Orleans Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Hancock flew missions in a B-25 during the war. The planes, part of the Commemorative Air Force, are in town for the WWII AirPower Expo 2015, hosted by the National World War II Museum, which runs through the weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- An airshow last weekend in New Orleans, put on by The National World War II Museum and the Commemorative Air Force, which maintains WWII aircraft, featured planes like the B-29 Superfortress, largely used in the Pacific for long-range bombing runs, and one of the B-25s, a medium-range plane often used in Europe. The Associated Press talked to some of veterans who got to ride again in the planes, this time just for fun:

-- As the B-25 prepared for takeoff, Victor J. Hancock, 92, remembered when he was at the controls: "I deliberately closed my eyes and envisioned I was in Corsica taking off in formation." Hancock flew 22 missions over Italy and Austria as a B-25 pilot, often targeting the Brenner Pass, which the Germans used to move troops and supplies into Italy.

"The Germans were just as determined to keep us from doing it," Hancock said, recalling flights with anti-aircraft guns "biting on our heels." During this flight he sat in the front, directly behind the pilots, looking out over the controls and the skies above. When the plane touched down, Hancock complimented the pilots on a nice landing.

-- Martin Biener secretly hoped he'd be able to fly the B-25, nicknamed the Yellow Rose, that carried the six veterans over the skies of New Orleans. Instead, the 93-year-old former pilot, who flew 51 missions over Europe, sat near the middle of the plane next to the gunner position, and, in a sign of how far technology has changed, whipped out his iPhone to capture the experience. Some of the other veterans took selfies.

The light-hearted fun was a far cry from his worst flight in a B-25. A cluster bomb had failed to drop when the bomb bay doors opened but it was still live and if it hit the plane, it would explode. Biener climbed from the cockpit to the bomb bay, and, as a member of the crew held him, cut the bomb loose: "I wasn't going to let anyone else hang over an open bomb bay door."

-- During the pre-flight briefing, the pilots let the veterans know where the emergency exits were located. But Bernie Peters, 92, was already intimately familiar with the exit hatch atop the cockpit. During a rough landing in the war with only one working brake, his plane rocketed over the end of the runway before stopping in a vineyard. Everyone piled out, fearing a gas leak.

Flying in a B-25 once again was a "real thrill," Peters said. He sat in front of the plane behind the pilots, headphones on, listening to the chatter as he looked out the windows. He spoke fondly of the plane that he piloted for 49 missions over the Brenner Pass: "It was really sturdy."

90-Year-Old World War II Veteran Awarded Purple Heart

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