VIDEO: Fly with News 2 on a WWII B-17 Bomber

Weekend Extra

One of eight flying B-17’s from WWII is in Lebanon this weekend and News 2 got to catch a ride.

Her name is Aluminum Overcast. She’s 74 feet long, 103 feet from wing to wing, and 65,000 lbs. She has four 1,200 high-powered engines and can carry a bomb load of 18,000 lbs. 

“It’s a 1945 B-17 G-Model, it’s actually the last of the wartime models that was developed,” said Crew Chief Bill Hooten with Experimental Aircraft Association.

Built for WWII, her mission was to fight for freedom against Nazi Germany.

“High-level bombing, you know 20,000 feet bombing of you know anything. Field depots, ball bearing factories,” Hooten said, “Any target that they were given, that’s what they typically do.”

However, Aluminum Overcast never saw war. She was built just before the war ended. More than 12,000 were built during the war, and now, only eight are still flying. 

“It’s such a workhorse, and in its day and time, it was probably the most sturdy, and that’s why they called it the Flying Fortress, because it would come home with so much damage,” Hooten said. 

“It’s not a comfortable airplane, it’s loud, it’s very small, it looks big, but it’s not. You know the catwalk in the Bomb bay is 9 inches wide,” Hooten explained, “It really puts you back in that time to see what those 18, 19-year-old boys were up against.”

The coolest seat in the aircraft is also the most important– the Norden Bombsight at the nose where the navigator and the bombardier sit.

“You see men ninety years old with tears in their eyes. And some men don’t want to fly on this aircraft because of the memories it gave to them,” Hooten said, “It’s just an honor to be able to be on this aircraft and represent what they do… they were the greatest generation.”

The B-17 will be at the Lebanon Airport for Memorial Day weekend, with a fee for flights. 

For any questions or to book a flight,  contact Membership Services at 800-359-6217.

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