Nearly 20 Stops Added To EAA B-17 "Keep It Flyin" Tour
August 15, 2006 — After its successful participation at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2006, EAA's restored B-17G bomber, Aluminum Overcast, resumed its "Keep It Flying" national tour in the Eastern and Central United States . EAA has now announced nearly 20 additional tour sites that will carry the tour through November, including appearances in Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arkansas.
EAA's national B-17 tours have taken place each spring and fall beginning in 1994, allowing tens of thousands of people to experience this unique airplane up close through flights and aircraft ground tours. Thousands of aviation enthusiasts have flown in the renowned bomber, which is considered one of the greatest military airplanes ever built and one of the best-known aircraft types of the World War II era.
"The national tour EAA undertakes each year has become the nation's most popular way to learn about this unique aircraft in an up-close way," said Tom Poberezny, EAA President. "EAA is dedicated to preserving aviation's magnificent heritage and our B-17 tours are a major part of that. This year, we also take great pride in saluting all our nation's veterans through this tour."
Through the past decade of national tours, EAA's B-17 has created many emotional reunions for veterans who participated in B-17 operations during World War II. For most, it was their first "mission" in a Flying Fortress since that era. Even though more than six decades have passed since their wartime experience, the outpouring of emotion and memories have created a unique link through these veterans. They have often shared their stories, while also recalling and honoring their long-ago comrades, during the B-17's visits to their communities.
EAA's Aluminum Overcast was built in 1945, but was delivered to the Army Air Corps too late to see active service in World War II. It was purchased as war surplus for $750 by a private individual, and served in mapping and spraying operations in many countries until a preservation group purchased it in 1978. The B-17 was donated to the EAA Aviation Foundation in 1981 with the provision of being maintained in airworthy condition. After being displayed at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh for a decade, the airplane made its national tour debut in the spring of 1994. EAA now fully owns the aircraft and operates the national tour.
Members of the EAA Warbirds of America who are experienced in World War II airplane operations fly the airplane, which is painted in the colors of the 398th Bomb Group.
Flight "missions" are available, allowing people to take flights in this spectacular aircraft. For more information, including ground tour and flight rates, visit the www.b17.org, or contact the tour office at 800-359-6217. Special pre-book rates on flights are available for EAA members and non-members, and group rates are available for ground tours by schools or other large groups.