OSHKOSH, WI -- Aluminum Overcast, the Experimental Aircraft Association's restored B-17 bomber, returns to the sky on April 3 in Chino, CA, the first stop of nearly 60 planned for the 2009 "Salute to Veterans" national tour.
The first portion of EAA's tour schedule includes 16 stops in five states between April 3 and June 3. The year-long tour will continue into late fall, with the airplane back "home" for the full week of EAA's annual AirVenture fly-in from July 27-Aug. 2 in Oshkosh, WI.
The national B-17 tours have taken place each spring and fall since 1994. Since EAA began the tours of the aircraft known as "The Flying Fortress," tens of thousands of people have experienced this unique airplane through its visits and aircraft ground tours. Thousands of aviation enthusiasts have actually 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," says Tom Poberezny, EAA President. "EAA is dedicated to preserving the spirit of aviation through these B-17 tours. This year, we also take great pride in saluting all our nation's veterans as the airplane makes its way throughout our country."
At each stop, flight "missions" are available in the airplane, which allow people to fly in this spectacular aircraft. For more information regarding these flights visit www.b17.org or call (800) 359-6217. Special pre-book rates on flights are available for EAA members and non-members, and group ground-tour rates are available for schools or other large groups. The airplane's crew is available at each stop to answer questions.
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 the aircraft being maintained in airworthy condition. After being displayed at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, WI, 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 will fly the airplane, which is painted in the colors of the 398th Bomb Group.
For more information on EAA visit www.eaa.org.