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What it’s like to fly in a World War II-era bomber

MESA, Arizona — History took to the skies over Arizona this week when three World War II-era planes toured the state.

The only Consolidated B-24J Liberator bomber from World War II on the planet still capable of flight was part of the tour and KTAR was allowed to take a ride in the historic plane.

We were accompanied by a few veterans who served on the same class of aircraft during the war.

“It was awesome,” Pearl Harbor survivor Jack Holder said after the flight. “It’s kind of like riding a bicycle — you don’t forget it.”

Holder added he never expected to be back on a B-24 and was grateful for the opportunity.

The bomber is part of a three-plane tour hosted by the Collings Foundation. For the younger generations, the planes are a way to touch history. For the veterans, they serve as a reminder.

“It was a good feeling,” Lawrence Daryl Clawson, who served as a nose gunner during the war, said. “I love flying.”

Some of the memories were more difficult than others.

“We lost some of the best men in the world in World War II,” Clawson said of losing a plane full of friends during a bombing mission. “Those men are the heroes.”