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Time machine

Immerse ourself in history at Mid-Atlantic Aviation's world war II weekend

“The story of Mid-Atlantic Aviation is not just the story of airplanes, but of ideas. It is also a story of productivity, perseverance, patriotism, and above all, the people that made these ideas a reality. The story of Mid-Atlantic Aviation begins with people.”
Photography by Chris Rose.
Zoomed image
Photography by Chris Rose.

Such a mission statement sets the tone for the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum and its world-famous World War II Weekend at the Reading Regional Airport (RDG) in Pennsylvania, held the first weekend of June each year. The idea was generated soon after the museum’s founding in the 1980s, when the staff realized the need for an annual fundraiser to support operations but wanted something different than a traditional airshow.

“We came up with a completely different concept in 1990 called World War II Weekend,” says museum president Russ Strine. “The event has grown from a very modest beginning into a full-blown World War II immersive experience that teaches attendees all about life during World War II—from the European theater to the Pacific to the American home front.” The goal, says Strine, is keeping the memory of World War II alive for new generations to “realize and understand what America went through.”

Now in its thirty-second year, it is the largest and premier event of its kind in the nation, a living history extravaganza of reenactors, artifacts, encampments of involved nations, and a vast collection of military equipment—everything from motorcycles to trucks, tanks and other specialty vehicles, weapons, and more. The fact that it falls right around the anniversary of D-Day is a bonus.

Recognized as a leader in the efforts to preserve, remember, honor, and learn from this era, the event continues to grow and draw crowds from around the world. Attendees leave tired and sunburnt after the long weekend, awed, inspired, and humbled with a renewed appreciation for the generation—especially the aviators—that left a legacy of hope and sacrifice in the darkest hours of history.

In just a few steps a visitor can traverse the lived experience of the war from the Philippines to North Africa, from the American production centers to the Battle of the Bulge. Visitors can meet World War II veterans and get signed copies of their memoirs, shop at the militaria market, enjoy refreshments and live period music at the officers' club, or stay late in the evening for good old-fashioned swing dancing.


Photography by Chris Rose. Photography by Chris Rose. Photography by Chris Rose. Photography by Chris Rose. Photography by Chris Rose. Photography by Chris Rose. Photography by Chris Rose. Photography by Chris Rose.

Many reenactors go to great lengths to make sure their kit is authentic and original—from their socks to the coins or brand of chewing gum in their pockets. Some choose to bring to life famous individuals such as General Douglas MacArthur while others, like AOPA intern Dimitry Madsen, demonstrate common methods of transportation and other aspects of daily life.

One of the most heartening things about the event is the amount of young people involved: reenactors, performers, volunteers, booth-staffers, and of course visitors with their families hearing tales from a grandparent or lifted up to see inside an aircraft. The next generations are present here in force, whether learning for the first time or already involved in carrying the torch.

Throughout the event one thing holds the place of most significance, as it was during the war: aviation. Stearmans glittering in the sun, the hum of performing Jungmeisters, clusters of aircraft from Piper L–4s to Douglas C–47s scattered across the grass and tarmac; and far above, the world-altering rumble of the Boeing B–29. Aviation is one of the biggest draws to this event, as people from all over the world come for the hard-to-beat collection of warbirds giving rides all in one location. The full roster of aircraft available for rides at the 2023 event were the Fairchild PT–19; North American T–6, B–25, and P–51; Cessna UC–78; Douglas Dauntless and C–47 Skytrain; Grumman Avenger; a B–24 Liberator; and a B–29 Superfortress.

World War II Weekend

  • World War II Weekend
    AOPA intern Dimitry Madsen. Photography by Chris Rose.
  • World War II Weekend
    Photography by Chris Rose.
  • World War II Weekend
    Photography by Chris Rose.
  • World War II Weekend
    Photography by Chris Rose.
  • World War II Weekend
    Photography by Chris Rose.
  • World War II Weekend
    Photography by Chris Rose.
  • World War II Weekend
    Photography by Chris Rose.
  • World War II Weekend
    Photography by Chris Rose.
  • World War II Weekend
    Photography by Chris Rose.
  • World War II Weekend
    Photography by Chris Rose.
  • World War II Weekend
    Pilots Syd Jones and Sabrina Kipp in the cockpit of B-25 Panchito.
Emma Quedzuweit
Assistant Editor
Assistant Editor Emma Quedzuweit, who joined the AOPA publications staff in 2022, is a private pilot and historical researcher.

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