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Fly-In Theater’s WWII Night

By Erin Henze

July 28, 2021 – To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, multiple different groups sent World War II veterans and WWII-era Douglas DC-3/C-47 Skytrain transports to reenact and honor the event. These two documentaries follow some of these groups, from making the aircraft flyable to the trip over the Atlantic to Normandy.

Return to the Big Skies: The Story of Miss Montana to Normandy
Return to the Big Skies follows the community restoration of Miss Montana, a WWII-era C-47, as they race against time and money constraints to have it ready to fly to Normandy in time for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

“Our project really is about the homefront effort,” explained director and cinematographer Eric Ristau. “It’s about the grassroots, volunteer-based effort to get this airplane flying in less than a year, after sitting in a museum for almost 20 years.”

Eric is also the vice president of EAA Chapter 517 in Missoula, Montana. Many members of this chapter helped to restore Miss Montana and bring her into the air. This special preview screening offers AirVenture attendees the chance to see the film before its public release this fall.

Into Flight Once More
Into Flight Once More follows 15 WWII-era C-47s on their journey across the Northern Atlantic to Normandy. Footage from the flight is intermixed with stories from WWII veterans and their experiences with D-Day.

“It was always a little bittersweet … thinking of what the young men and women were going through in the 1940s when they were doing that same crossing,” said director and producer Adrienne Hall, who experienced the flight. “Having the opportunity to actually speak to those last remaining WWII veterans is honestly the privilege of a lifetime.”

After two years of working on this project, the film crew is excited to share Into Flight Once More with the world.

“We’re all so excited,” Adrienne said. “To show the film to what I think is going to be the best audience in the world for it … it’s just an honor to get to share this project.”

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