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D-Day Squadron’s 2024 Legacy Tour Update

Oxford, Connecticut – January 11, 2024: Work and planning continues for the D-Day Squadron’s 2024 Legacy Tour with Western Airlines DC-3 announcing their intention to join ten other squadron aircraft, including two Commemorative Air Force airplanes, as they cross the Atlantic Ocean to commemorate both the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings and the 75th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. Western Airlines is now based in Florida with owner Tim Savage, a dear friend and colleague to the D-Day Squadron and DC-3 community. That brings participating aircraft to 11 total as this week marks four months until the D-Day Squadron starts assembling in the Northeast United States for another historical oceanic crossing.

As the D-Day Squadron team works to assemble North American operators for preparations, training, and final oceanic planning in mid-May 2024, team members in the UK are also supporting updates with organizers to give the public the most current information as events in Europe become more defined. D-Day Squadron’s newsletter contributor, Adam Simpkins, headed to North Weald, Essex, recently to sit down with Aero Legends owner Keith Perkins and other team members to discuss arrangements being made for the UK and Normandy legs of the tour.

Once the D-Day Squadron aircrews cross the Atlantic, reaching the U.K., they’ll head directly to the historic North Weald airfield in Essex (around the last week of May). Keith and Aero Legends will welcome the aircraft. From here, aircraft and aircrews will attend several exciting events organized by Aero Legends. Multiple events include an eclectic mix of ground shows, airshows, parachute drops, and unique opportunities to get up close to the aircraft. On May 31, spectators can watch the ground show as parachutists clamber aboard the aircraft and practice their drops.

June 1 will include two shows at North Weald and Imperial War Museum (IWM) Duxford, with the D-Day Squadron returning to the skies of Duxford following its previous partnership with IWM for the historic D-Day 75 commemorations. The parachutists will board at North Weald for IWM Duxford to complete a mass drop over the historic airfield as a major part of the Duxford Summer Air Show: D-Day 80 weekend event. They will then return to North Weald. As June 2 dawns, the planes load up and start their journey to Cherbourg, France, passing through Duxford on the second day of the airshow as they head out to continue their commemorative flight.

From June 2 to 10, Cherbourg will be the D-Day Squadron’s base of operations. Aero Legends has planned several exciting flyovers and commemorative shows during these eight days. From June 4 to June 5, crews will return to the Upottery airfield in Devon, once home to Easy Company. Plans include a ground show and parachute drops into the airfield from Normandy. The crews return to Normandy for another drop. The highlight of the time at Upottery will be the flight out on June 5. On the evening of June 5, the squadron will load up with parachutists and head back to Normandy, much like they did 80 years ago.

One of the key partners in the event is Round Canopy Parachuting Team International (RCPT). RCPT is organizing and overseeing the parachuting sorties for all jump teams that form part of the D-Day 80 event. RCPT is led by Hubert Achten and Dominique Jame, who have immense experience delivering commemorative jumps in Europe. Hubert and Dominique will oversee all jumps to ensure safety and that all local authorities, airborne operations, and landowners are coordinated effectively.

Back on the ground in Cherbourg, the event “Cherbourg Camp Dakota” will run from June 4 to 6. Extensive commemorative flights are also planned for the remainder of the time in Normandy. After June 10, Aero Legends and their two C-47s will return home, and the D-Day Squadron will continue with their remaining Legacy Tour around Europe.

For those who cannot attend these events in person, there will be a streaming platform to enjoy these historic events from the comfort of one’s home.

Aero Legends have an impeccable history of organizing significant events (including parachute sorties) and running warbird experiences. In 2009, Keith bought his first Spitfire; by 2013, it had been restored to flying condition. From this first purchase, the Aero Legends brand has grown from strength to strength and now operates piston-engine and jet experiences out of North Weald, Headcorn Aerodrome, and Compton Abbas Airfield.

Keith also owns and operates two C-47s, Drag ’em Oot and Pegasus, both of which will be on the UK and Normandy legs of the tour. These aircraft participate annually in parachute drops during the D-Day commemorations and other appearances at European airshows. “All this incredible experience from running experiences and regular parachute drops means that Keith and Aero Legends are the perfect operation to organize the D-Day Squadron’s time in the UK and Normandy,” shared Simpkins.

Secure Your Front Row Seat to History - Ticket Sales Now Open!

At North Weald (EGSX), the D-Day Squadron’s primary base of operations, visitors will encounter a captivating static display, vibrant reenactments, and a chance to engage with dedicated vendors. To attend, visit the Aero Legends website to purchase a ticket: https://dday-80.co.uk Additional information about the participating aircraft and service history can be found at https://dday-80.co.uk/aircraft-participation/

For an aerial spectacle, join the D-Day Squadron at IWM Duxford (EGSU) for dynamic airshows on Saturday and Sunday, June 1 to 2. On Saturday, experience the thrill of parachute drops and witness Aero Legends' aircraft perform awe-inspiring flybys. The excitement peaks on Sunday when the entire fleet, including our treasured DC-3s, take to the skies for a grand parade and individual flypasts. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.iwm.org.uk/airshows/duxford-summer-air-show

For more event information on the D-Day Squadron’s 2024 Legacy Tour: https://www.ddaysquadron.org/2024-legacy-tour

Information provided by the D-Day Squadron. For media inquiries, please get in touch with Bryan Fusfield at bryan@ddaysquadron.org or (720) 593-0074.

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