Look above the Seattle waterfront about noon Friday for a glimpse of the past.
In honor of D-Day’s 70th anniversary, a trio of museum-owned P-51 Mustang fighter planes — one of which actually flew in the D-Day invasion — is scheduled to soar over communities from Bellingham to Olympia between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
“It’s our way of paying respect,” said John Sessions, founder of the Historic Flight Foundation, based at Everett’s Paine Field.
Sessions will be piloting the lead plane, which flew four sorties on the first day of the Normandy assault. Its mission, Session said, would have been to fly low-level passes targeting German artillery units or soldiers.
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Sessions has a personal connection to D-Day. His late father, a paratrooper, survived being dropped behind enemy lines ahead of the attack, a dimension of the invasion that produced particularly heavy casualties.
Sessions’ P-51, nicknamed “Impatient Virgin” early in its career, survived battles only to crash on a training run in 1945. It lay shattered in a British beet field for more than 50 years, before aviation archaeologists began the lengthy process of excavating and restoring it.
The other P-51’s in the Friday flight are owned by Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage Collection, also based at Paine Field, and the Heritage Flight Museum of Skagit County. Friday’s event also will call attention to a Saturday program at the Historic Flight Foundation, which will feature historians in D-Day attire, a display of 40 military vehicles and appearances by three helicopter and crews from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
In other D-Day related activities, Seattle’s Museum of Flight will offer presentations on aircraft that were key to the invasion, including several fighters and its Alaska Airlines DC-3, the civilian version of the C-47 transport that took paratroopers across enemy lines at D-Day.
Also to observe the anniversary, Pacific Science Center is offering free admission to past and present military members with ID Friday through Sunday to its regular exhibits and to the IMAX documentary, D-Day 3D: Normandy 1944.
Jack Broom: firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-464-2222