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B-17 Back in Action
October 29, 2020 – EAA's B-17 Aluminum Overcast is officially back in action after a successful stop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, last weekend that saw 109 prospective riders pre-book and 14 total flights, despite tricky weather on Friday in partnership with EAA Chapter 33.
"I can tell you that the unseasonably cold temperatures, in the 30s each day, did not deter our visitors from coming off of the airplane smiling ear to ear from their recent experience," EAA Manager of Air Tours Kristy Busse said. "Many of our visitors brought family stories and memories showcasing their direct connection to World War II, the B-17, and the Greatest Generation. It was an honor to spend time with each of them and feel the importance of their connection to this aircraft and flight experience."
The Air Tours team at EAA had spent seven months communicating with chapters, prospective airport hosts, and other operators, and during that time developed the new out and back tour stop model to ensure Aluminum Overcast could continue operating in a safe manner. An ionizing fogger used between flights sanitizes the B-17, and volunteers, crewmembers, and riders wear masks.
"COVID-19 was a non-issue in Cedar Rapids because our volunteers and guests treated each other with respect," Kristy said. "The entire public from small children up to our oldest visitor self-regulated within CDC guidance. We had no issues with riders as a result of COVID-19 related changes and in fact the weather was a bigger factor on the weekend than anything pandemic related. We have to continue to learn because every location, airport, and host has its own unique differences and challenges, but I am confident in saying this past weekend was a safe, successful, and excellent event taking a big step in the right direction towards getting the touring aircraft back on the road. We will continue to work with other operators and subject matter experts to evolve our procedures to best protect our visitors, local hosts, and crew!"
Aluminum Overcast will be in Champaign, Illinois, this weekend from October 30 through November 1, working with EAA Chapter 29 at the University of Illinois-Willard airport. Kristy said the support of local chapters is appreciated and necessary now more than ever.
"Hats off to both of our local chapters for their willingness to dive right into preparations and planning required to host Aluminum Overcast with such short notice," Kristy said. "Their efforts really show and both the staff here at Headquarters as well as our B-17 crew are incredibly grateful to have such amazing local chapters and volunteers supporting our touring efforts — we simply could not do it without them!"
For more information on the B-17 Aluminum Overcast tour and to book a flight, visit EAA.org/B17.