Win a Flight in a WWII Airplane, Funds to Benefit American Veterans Historical Museum



TO:              All County Employees
FROM:       MaryEllen Odell
                     Putnam CountyExecutive
DATE:        September 24, 2013
RE:              American Veterans Historical Museum Raffle


Win a Flight in a WWII Airplane
Funds to Benefit American Veterans Historical Museum

For the merely adventurous or for the serious vintage airplane buff, a special fundraising raffle sponsored by the American Veterans Historical Museum (AVHM) is taking flight. Literally. The owner of the winning raffle ticket and a guest will greet the wild blue yonder in their choice of either a WWII-era B-17 Flying Fortress or a B-24 Liberator. The second place prize is a ticket for two to catch the breeze in a WWI  bi-plane out of the Rhinebeck Aerodome.


Members of the museum, which is chartered by the NYS Education Department, (Regents), and registered by the state as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, are looking for a permanent location within Putnam County where they might house their many artifacts. Money raised by the sale of the raffle tickets will go into the group’s building fund.


“We have a limited number of raffle tickets left,” said Brain Benedict, proprietor of The Duffle Bag in Patterson and longtime proponent of establishing a military museum within Putnam’s borders. “The winning ticket will be drawn at our annual Militaria Show which will be held at the PattersonRecreationCenter on October 26th. As a matter of fact, for the last two years, the winning ticket was purchased by people attending the Militaria Show,” he said.   


The two bombers, a B-17 Flying Fortress and a B-24 Liberator, are owned by the Collings Foundation which is based in Stow, MA. The aircraft are maintained and used at air shows and exhibitions across the country. According to the Collings Foundation website, the planes are “tributes to their crews and fly on as living history to enlighten future generations.”


Today, pilots have permission to fly these historical planes out of various airports in the Northeast. The raffle winner may choose from the listed airports which include nearby WestchesterCountyAirport in White Plains, NY, SikorskyMemorialAirport in Bridgeport, CT and the Waterbury-OxfordAirport in Oxford, CT.


“The first place winner will have the opportunity to choose an airport from which to take-off and land,” said Benedict.   


The Flying Fortress is a four-engine heavy bomber which was first developed in the 1930’s for the U.S. Army Air Corps and introduced in 1938. It was used by the U. S. Army Air Force during WWII in bombing campaigns against German military and industrial targets. It was also used to bomb Japanese air fields in the Pacific. The B-17 dropped more bombs than any other aircraft used in WWII, totaling 640,000 out of the 1.5 million tons deployed by U. S. aircraft.


The B-24 Liberator, named “Witchcraft” is the only restored flying B-24J in the world. Restoration was completed in 1989. Together with the Flying Fortress, these two living history museums continue soaring through the skies as part of the annual Wings of Freedom Tour and are enjoyed by young and old alike at more than 120 U. S. cities each year.


Raffle tickets are $10 apiece and are fully tax deductible. Tickets may be purchased at The Duffle Bag, a military supply store located at 1270 Route 311 in Patterson, NY.


The Militaria Show will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on October 26 at the PattersonRecreationCenter, 65 Front Street, Patterson, NY12563. For more information, call Benedict at (845) 878-7106.


Photos courtesy of the Collings Foundation.