EAA is continuing its repair and restoration work on its B-17 Aluminum Overcast and is working closely with the FAA as the agency considers the best path forward to safely getting these treasured aircraft back in the air.
While Aluminum Overcast has been sidelined since damage to a wing fitting was discovered during a routine preflight check in spring 2021, other B-17 operators have also grounded their aircraft due to possible wing spar issues. Those wing spar issues could lead to the FAA issuing an airworthiness directive for B-17s in the near future.
“Even the most robust airframes, such as the B-17 with its legendary durability, need proper care to ensure their safe operation for years to come,” said Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety. “We all want to keep ‘em flying and keep ‘em flying safely. We at EAA have had excellent cooperation from the FAA as we jointly review the situation and find the best path forward.”
This past weekend, the Yankee Air Museum announced that its B-17 Yankee Lady would be grounded “out of an abundance of caution” and is not expected to fly in 2023. That also means the aircraft will not appear at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023 as previously announced. Those who had already booked flights on the aircraft during AirVenture will be contacted directly by the Yankee Air Museum regarding refunds.
“The warbirds community is resilient and united on finding a path forward for these magnificent airplanes,” Elliott said. “We look forward to getting them back in the air in the future, with safety always the number one priority.”