Preparations for the 2013 Florida International Air Show were wrapping up in the hours before the event was to start with a VIP reception Friday evening. The show continues today and Sunday. Gates open at 9 a.m. both days. As part of Friday’s activities, members of the media from various outlets in Southwest Florida took a ride on a 1944 World War II bomber. The plane is from the 396 Bomb Squad, 41st Bomb Group in the 7th Air Force, and was in action in the summer of 1945 in Okinawa. During World War II, the plane, named Panchito, was piloted by Capt. Don Seiler and co-piloted by Lt. Jud Driver. It contains 13 50-caliber machine guns with 3,000 bomb loads. Panchito now is owned and operated by Disabled American Veterans pilot Larry Jones, and co-piloted by DAV Syd Jones. The group flew over Punta Gorda and Charlotte Harbor for about 30 minutes.
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