Published: Jan 22, 2011 4:35 AM EST
Updated: Jan 21, 2011 10:31 PM EST

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - It's a ride like no other. Loop-d-loops and aerobatics in the sky. All this in a plane that's older than most people that get in it. Planes that helped the greatest generation defeat the enemy in World War II, are all rolling into the Marco Island Airport.

"For the people that love roller coasters, getting in the T-6, that's the ultimate roller coaster ride," Pilot John Makinson explains of the T-6 Texan fighter plane.

Sitting right next to that is another rare bird, a B-25 Bomber.

"It's got 14 cylinder right cyclone engines on it, developing 17 hundred horse power. People have seen the movie Pearl Harbor, this is what they launched off the aircraft carrier," Makinson says in a brief history lesson.

These restored warbirds are now a part of history. History you can touch, history you can fly in.

When you buy a flight on one of these vintage planes, it's not just a ticket to ride.

Makinson is part of the non-profit group History Flights. "We raise money, not only to give people the opportunity to fly in these historic airplanes, we do an MIA search in the South Pacific every year. And, in the last year we located the remains of over 200 World War II service men." Currently there are over 78,000 unaccounted for men from that era.

The group, which is based out of Marathon, Florida, also has a World War II Stearman biplane in it's arsenal.

You can catch a ride January 22-23 at the Marco Island Airport. Or, next weekend, January 29-30, at the Charlotte County Airport in Punta Gorda. For more information go to History Flight's website.

RENEE STOLL, REPORTER

renee.stoll@winknews.com