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EAA’s B-17 Tour Goes International

June 23, 2016 - Aluminum Overcast made its first trip across the Canadian border with a tour stop at the Victoria Flying Club in Victoria, British Columbia, from June 16-19.

Event organizer Gerry Mants said the show put on by the crew was terrific.

“It came together very well,” Mants said. “Once everybody got here it was very well handled, it was a good event. I enjoyed seeing the excitement of all the customers and the crew.”

Mants said each of the attendees he talked to were amazed by the condition of the airplane and pleased with the breadth of information presented to them during the tours. He had high praise for the pilots in particular.  

“When the tours of the airplane were on, we must’ve had, and this is a wild guess, but I’d say 50-75 people in the lineup, so the line was maybe an hour long,” Mants said. “And [the pilots] were up and down the line, talking to people, answering questions, so on and so forth. [Everything] was very professionally and personably done.”

Although it was Aluminum Overcast’s first time in Canada, other B-17 bombers played an important part in the Canadian Armed Forces’ operations during World War II.

At the onset of the war, the Canadian Forces used ships to deliver mail, but the ships carrying the parcels were constantly being torpedoed. Mail from home was needed to keep troops’ morale high so, in 1943, the Royal Canadian Air Force began delivering mail through the air.

They used six surplus B-17s acquired from the United States to deliver mail to service personnel across Europe. The B-17s were modified to better fit their new roles, which meant removing guns, replacing the engines and other interior modifications so the aircraft could carry the heavy loads intended for them.

Aluminum Overcast will stop in Calgary, Alberta, June 23-26 before concluding its Canadian tour with stops in Regina, Saskatchewan, June 30- July 3, and Gimli, Manitoba, July 7-10. 

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