CHICO — World War II military planes have been flying out of Chico Municipal Airport all week long.

As part of the Commemorative Air Force, the Flying Legends of Victory Tour has been providing rides and tours of two World War II-era bomber planes since Monday.

The two planes, B-17 “Sentimental Journey” and B-25 “Maid in the Shade,” travel all over the country from June to October with the help of volunteer pilots.

“It let’s people experience what our forefathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers went through during World War II,” said on-scene coordination supervision and response employee for the tour, Gene Adkins.

The rides, which last about 45 to 50 minutes, head toward Lake Oroville and Paradise before returning to the airport.

“We try to make it more of flying history and not just standing in a museum,” Adkins said.

Both aircraft are extremely rare, with the B-25 being only one of 34 still flying.

According to Adkins, the planes have survived this long because they mostly had civilian careers.

After the war, the B-17 was used to fight forest fires and spray pesticides.

“If it wasn’t for that, they would have been chopped up and turned into beer cans decades ago,” Adkins said.

The week-long attraction has even drawn in military veterans that flew these types of planes during the war.

Longtime Oroville resident and former B-17 pilot during World War II, Frank O’Neil, 96, visited the planes Saturday afternoon.

O’Neil said the plane “looked smaller” than he remembered.

He was accompanied by his former Oroville High School student, Mike Gilchrist.

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“It brought back a lot of memories,” Gilchrist said. “We talked all the way over. He told me a bunch of stories.”

O’Neil served four years in the war and flew 29 missions, most of them being over Germany.

“There are not many people who are kids today that would be willing to get in a plane like that, fly over a bombing area, be shot at and do it time after time,” Gilchrist said.

After the war, O’Neil obtained his teaching credential from Chico State and began teaching until his retirement in 1983.

“When I was a junior, he was my U.S. history teacher,” Gilchrist said. “When we started talking about World War II, he opened up about some of his experiences. We were all sitting there in awe.”

“They say these guys were the greatest generation, and believe me, that hits the nail on the head,” Gilchrist added.

The Flying Legends of Victory Tour will end Sunday in Chico after a B-25 flight at 11:30 a.m., and final tours of the aircraft from 2 to 6 p.m.

Exact prices for flights vary on the plane and seat placement but can range from $325 to $850.

Tours of the plane cost $15 per person or $25 per family of four.