RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- An operations official with the The Collings Foundation's Wings of Freedom Tour says the Reno – Tahoe Airport Authority has forced them to cease flying their WWII Vintage Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Consolidated B-24 Liberator and North American P-51 Mustang from the Reno - Stead Airport due to insurance concerns.
The group was supposed to be in town from June 3 to June 5. Visitors could explore the aircraft inside and out, and experience a 30-minute flight. They were even able to the plane for various fee levels. The airplanes still can be displayed at the airport through June 5th, but cannot offer flights of any kind.
The Collings Foundation tells News 4 they have $15 million insurance on the bombers and $500,000 per passenger. They say airport officials told them they must up their passenger insurance to $1 million. The Collings Foundation tells News 4 they obtained the $1 million insurance as requested, and then were told they must get $5 million per passenger; they cannot afford $5 million per passenger. They tell News 4 they have never had to increase their insurance at any other airport in the past.
When reached for comment Reno – Tahoe Airport Authority President & CEO Krys Bart confirmed the warbirds have been grounded. Bart confirmed it was an insurance issue, but could not confirm the exact amount of insurance that was needed because she was not in her office and did not have the paperwork available. Bart said the insurance amount is determined by the airport’s insurance underwriter.
The Collings Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit educational foundation devoted to organizing "living history" events that allows people to learn more about their heritage and history through direct participation. The Collings Foundation says Wings of Freedom Tour is in its 24th year and visits an average of 110 cities in over 35 states annually.