First came little "Betty Jane," a two-seat P-51C Mustang fighter plane.
The silver, red-nosed aircraft, adorned with red and yellow stripes, was followed a few minutes later by bombers, a B-24J Liberator named "Witchcraft" and a B-17G Flying Fortress with the moniker "Nine-O-Nine."
Less than an hour and a half after these World War II-era planes flew into Lexington's Blue Grass Airport on Friday afternoon, about 170 people had gotten a close look, both inside and out, at the three rare birds, and more people were lined up to do so.
"It just makes me so proud to be an American, and that they preserved these," said Judy Woolums of Wilmore, who saw the planes with her husband, Roger, and grandchildren, Aaron Woolums, 9, and Emily Woolums, 7.
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"It was pretty cool," Aaron said.
"I liked when the airplanes came down and landed," Emily said.
The children particularly enjoyed handling the locked machine guns inside the bombers, Judy Woolums said. While seeing the planes was a new experience for Aaron and Emily, the planes brought back memories for other visitors.
"You'd better believe it," said Bob Cole, 89, who was in the Army Air Force during World War II, serving on the line crew of a B-25 and as a flight engineer on a Martin B-26 Marauder.
Cole produced from his wallet and proudly displayed a photograph of a small plane he once piloted.
"I've flown on a lot of planes," said Cole, who worked as a station agent and manager for commercial airlines after his stint in the military.
For Jim Cox, an 84-year-old World War II Navy veteran, seeing the planes was a chance to think about what might have been.
"I never flew in the military. My mom wouldn't sign for me," said Cox, who joined the Navy at age 16.
Lowell Kelly, 81, recalled that a B-24 Liberator was just a ride from one place to another during his years in the Navy. He served from 1947 to 1952.
Also, he recalled, "These are the ones they launched off carriers to bomb Japan."
The planes, owned by the Collings Foundation, a non-profit educational foundation based in Massachusetts, are in Lexington through midday Monday. The Aviation Museum of Kentucky, located at the airport, is hosting their visit, part of the foundation's Wings of Freedom Tour.
Witchcraft and Betty Jane are the sole remaining examples of their type flying in the world, according to the foundation. Nine-O-Nine is one of only 10 such planes in flying condition in the country.