FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 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 10 other squadron aircraft 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 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 members of the team to discuss arrangements being made for the UK and Normandy legs of the tour.
Once the D-Day Squadron aircrews make their crossing over the Atlantic reaching the U.K. they’ll head direct to the historic North Weald airfield in Essex (around the last week of May). The aircraft will be welcomed by Keith and Aero Legends. From here, aircraft and aircrews will be attending several exciting events, organized by Aero Legends. Multiple events include an eclectic mix of ground shows, air shows, parachute drops, and unique opportunities to get up close to the aircraft. On May 31st, spectators can watch the ground show as parachutists clamber aboard the aircraft and practice their drops.
June 1st will include two shows at both North Weald and Imperial War Museum (IWM) Duxford, with 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 the 2nd of June dawns, the planes load up and start their journey over to Cherbourg, France passing through Duxford on the second day of the air show, as they head out to continue their commemorative flight.
From June 2nd-10th, Cherbourg will be the D-Day Squadron’s base of operations. Aero Legends have planned several interesting flyovers and commemorative shows during these eight days. On June 4th and 5th, crews will return to 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 the 5th of June. On the evening of the 5th, the squadron will load up with parachutists and head back to Normandy, much like they did 80 years ago to the day.
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 the 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 on both the 4th and 6th of June. Extensive commemorative flights are also planned for the remainder of the time in Normandy. After June 10th, 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 in place to enjoy these historic events from the comfort of one’s own home.
Aero Legends have an impeccable history of organizing big events (including parachute sorties) and running warbird experiences. Back in 2009, Keith bought his first Spitfire, and 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 take part annually in parachute drops during the D-Day commemorations along with other appearances at air shows across the UK and Europe. “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.
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At North Weald (EGSX), our D-Day Squadron’s primary base of operations, encounter a captivating static display, vibrant reenactments, and a chance to engage with dedicated vendors. If you wish to attend, head to the Aero Legends website to secure yourself a ticket https://dday-80.co.uk. There is also information about the participating aircraft where you can read more about their service history: https://dday-80.co.uk/aircraft-participation/.
For an aerial spectacle, join the D-Day Squadron at IWM Duxford (EGSU) for dynamic airshows taking place on both Saturday and Sunday, June 1st,and 2nd. Experience the thrill of parachute drops and witness Aero Legends' aircraft perform awe-inspiring flybys on Saturday. The excitement peaks on Sunday when the full fleet, including our treasured DC-3s, take to the skies for a grand parade and individual fly-pasts. Tickets here: 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
D-Day Squadron media contact: Bryan Fusfield | firstname.lastname@example.org
2024 Legacy Tour Mission Graphics, Participating Aircraft : CLICK HERE
Other Participating aircraft images: CLICK HERE
For media inquiries, please contact: Bryan Fusfield | Global Media, Film & Production | email@example.com | (720) 593-0074
About the D-Day Squadron
Born from the 2019 mission to Normandy, the D-Day Squadron (DDS) is a large program of the Tunsion Foundation, an established 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its focus is on DC-3 operators, WWII commemorations, education, and outreach programming. Programs that function under the DDS are education and outreach, a Young Historians Program and the membership arm of the DDS, the DC-3 Society. The overall purpose of the DDS is to promote DC-3 type aircraft airworthiness, serve members of the DC-3 Society and promote static and flying displays for future generations. The DC-3 Society was born to organize the collective efforts of enthusiasts, pilots, mechanics, and operators to involve the next generation in “FLYING FREEDOM.”
In June 2019, the D-Day Squadron led an American fleet of 15 historic, restored C-47 World War II military aircraft to take part in a flyover of more than 30 international aircraft to drop over 200 paratroopers over the original 1944 drop zones in Normandy, commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The event honored the citizen soldiers of the War, whose bravery led the Allies to the liberation of France, and then to an end of the devastating War in Europe. The Squadron’s education program takes the compelling story of the citizen soldier to audiences at airshows and events off the flight line to honor these brave Americans and ensure their memory and significance are appreciated for generations to come. The group’s efforts are funded through the generous tax-deductible contribution of their supporters. In 2024, the DDS will return to Europe for DDay80, Berlin75 and other notable commemorations, a Legacy Tour.