VE Day fighter flyover for Washington, D.C.

On the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory over the Nazis during World War Two, a vintage plane flyover will take place on 8th May over Washington, D.C.

VE Day will be marked with a vintage bomber flyover including a P-51 Mustang and a B-29 Superfortress bomber.

The fifteen aircraft formations will group together west of Washington, near Leesburg in Virginia, before flying along the Potomac River up towards the capital city.

The formations will bank over the Lincoln Memorial, over the National World War Two Memorial and then on over the Washington Monument and up Independence Avenue, before turning south to reach the capital.

Around 24 aircraft are being planned for the flyover. In addition to the Mustang and B-29 will be a P-38 Lightning, P-40 Warhawk, P-39 Aerocobra, P-51 Mustang, P-47 Thunderbolt, FG-1D Corsair, B-25 Mitchell, and a B-17 Flying Fortress.

The fly past has been named the ‘Arsenal of Democracy Flyover’ and is to coincide with a veterans commemoration ceremony at the National Mall’s World War Two Memorial.While all aircraft are expected to take part, given their age it will be dependent on good weather conditions and each individual aircraft’s maintenance on the day.

The following day, on Saturday9th May, around 20 of the aircraft will be on display at the National Air and Space Museum, near Dulles International Airport in Virginia. The aircraft will be on display for one day only.

Visitors will be able to walk around the aircraft and see them up close from 10:00am through to 2:30pm. The museum will also be hosting a range of activities and exhibits in line with the VE Day theme, the USA Today reports.

It will be free to the general public, with a US $15 parking charge.

VE Day stands for Victory in Europe Day, and is an annual commemoration of the day that the Nazis surrendered to the Allied forces in Europe. It was on the last day of April that Adolf Hitler committed suicide leaving his successor, Reichspräsident Karl Dönitz, to sign the act of military surrender on 7th May in Reims, France, and then on 8th May in the German capital of Berlin.

Celebrations for the end of the war in Europe took place throughout the world including, London, Los Angeles, New York and Moscow. In London, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, alongsideKing George VI and Queen Elizabeth, waved to the crowds from Buckingham Palace. In the US, President Truman dedicated the victory to his predecessor President Roosevelt, who had died only a month earlier.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE