Public gets opportunity to take a ride in B-17 bomber - KCTV5

Public gets opportunity to take a ride in B-17 bomber

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LEE'S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) -

The B-17 bomber is an icon of World War II. This weekend, not only can people see the legendary plane, they can take a ride in it.

It's the absolute best view of the city from 2,000 feet up in a B-17 bomber, and if someone decides to take a ride, they'll be helping to support WWII veterans.

The restored WWII-era B-17 bomber may be more than eight decades old, but it still flies like new. The aluminum overcast, as it's known, is making a nation-wide tour, thanks to an all-volunteer team from the Experimental Aircraft Association out of Oshkosh, WI.

"It's a way for the current public to see it, feel it, smell it, touch it, get an idea of what it was like back then to launch off at the age of 18 or 19 at 30,000 feet in minus 50 degrees," said Scott Hartwig, a pilot with EAA.

Hartwig is one of the pilots who takes the controls of the bomber, giving countless people from all over the country a history lesson they'll never forget.

The flying fortress draws large crowds at every stop.

"There's nothing like this generation, and the aircraft, and I love airplanes," Tom Carroll said.

Carroll is a veteran who served in Vietnam. He said he's never seen bombers like the B-17 in action. He knows how important it is to honor those that sat in gun turrets, putting their lives on the line to preserve freedom.

"It's great. Someone has to keep it alive. The generation that flew this airplane was a different breed," he said.

It costs a few hundred dollars to take a ride on the plane, with all money raised going towards fuel and maintenance required to keep it flying.

Hartwig said it's a small price to pay to be able to give those who flew in the planes a chance to relive memories they made so long ago.

"They hobble and creek a bit getting into the airplane. It's fun to watch them, they take one step inside and they get a twinkle in their eye. They know right where to put their hand and foot and they scramble up there faster than I can. It's a real treat for us to be able to do that," he said.

If you'd like to take a ride, the B-17 will be in town through Sunday. Click here for details.

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