VIENNA, Ohio – After canceling the last two years, the annual Wings-n-Wheels airplane and auto show will return in a new and better location.
The vintage military aircraft and classic car show will take place Aug. 6 and 7 at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna Township.
The show’s previous location at Sloas Airfield in Vienna was getting too crowded.
“We simply outgrew the space,” says Bob Griffin, a board member of the Ernie Hall Aviation Museum in Vienna, which presents Wings-n-Wheels.
The new location will do more than just minimize the traffic tie-ups. “The runways are longer, so we can accommodate much larger aircraft,” Griffin says.
If the weather cooperates, Wings-n-Wheels – which is now in its eighth year – will draw over 5,000 visitors each day, many of whom arrive in their own private planes.
It also features one of the area’s largest car shows. Depending on the weather, over 1,000 classic cars, hot rods and other vehicles will be on display.
The Western Reserve Port Authority offered the use of the airport earlier this year and the museum trustees jumped at the opportunity, Griffin recalls.
All aircraft and autos will be on the airport’s paved runways and not the grassy – and occasionally muddy or dusty – expanse of Sloas Airfield. There is a lot of free parking on the site.
Visitors to Wing-n-Wheels will be able to view several historic and rare military aircraft, and tour the interior of some of them. None of the planes will take flight during the show.
“These aircraft have never been [to Wing-n-Wheels] because the runway at Sloas Field isn’t big enough for them to land,” Griffin says.
The highlight will be a World War II-era C-47.
“It was used to tow gliders and also drop paratroopers during the Allied invasion of Normandy Beach,” Griffin says.
The C-47 is based at the Air Heritage Museum in Beaver Falls, Pa. The museum is also providing a restored Vietnam-era C-123 transport plane.
“It’s the only one flying in the world right now,” Griffin says. “It has appeared in six major motion pictures,” including “Con Air” (1997) and “American Made” (2017).
Also on display at Wings-n-Wheels will be a World War II-era C-53 dubbed Beach City Baby that was used to drop paratroopers. “It has received a complete restoration, and is immaculate,” Griffin says. “It’s configured exactly as it would have been during World War II, with the ammo boxes exactly where they would have been.”
The crew that accompanies Beach City Baby dresses in World War II uniforms and is ready to share the plane’s history.
A World War II twin-engine B25 bomber with a 75-foot wingspan and nose art that earned it the nickname “Georgie Girl” will also be on display. Aircraft like it were flown on daring missions from aircraft carriers to bomb Tokyo shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack.
“It was a one-way mission, in that they couldn’t return to the carrier,” Griffin says. “They had to try to land in China, which was friendly to the U.S. at the time. It was almost like a suicide mission but many of the pilots survived.”
While the attack on Tokyo did not do heavy damage, it delivered a huge psychological blow, Griffin says. “[The Japanese] didn’t think we had the capability to attack them because of the distance.”
Getting up close to the B25 and the other aircraft allows visitors “to see and never forget the sacrifices that were made during World War II.”
For a small fee, guests can step aboard the Beach City Baby, but not the B25.
Aircraft from the Youngstown Air Reserve Station at Vienna will also be on display, including C-130 and a C-17 cargo planes. The cargo bays will be open for viewing.
CARS AND MORE
Owners and restorers of classic cars, hot rods and muscle cars understandably like to keep their machines clean.
Having Wings-n-Wheels on a paved and flat surface this year will go a long way to making that happen, says Griffin, acknowledging there have been complaints in the past. “It will be easier to walk around here,” he says.
Wings-n-Wheels will feature about 15 food vendors.
Parking is free at the airport, 1453 Youngstown-Kingsville Road.
If necessary, the parking lots at nearby Mathews High School will be used for overflow parking, with a shuttle bus making free loops to the airport.
Wings-n-Wheels will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Admission is $10 (cash only); $5 for children ages 5 to 12; free for children under 5.
The event will include an airplane raffle. Tickets are $50, with sales capped at 5,500 tickets.
Pictured at top: This World War II C-53 aircraft, dubbed Beach City Baby, was used to drop paratroopers. It will be shown at Wings-n-Wheels.