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Sunday, August 31, 2008

B-17

A restored and operational World War II B-17 bomber is in Springfield through Monday:

The rare plane is the most fully restored B-17 in existence and one of 12 or 13 that remain air-worthy. Sentimental Journey is owned by the Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, which flies it around the country for people to see and touch. They can even go for a ride in it for a $425 tax-deductible fee. (B-17 from World War II visits Springfield.)

There must be a lot of local interest in taking rides. It flew pretty low over our house Friday evening just before dusk. The Air Force emblem was very visible from the front porch. And, it's been circling Springfield all morning today.

Altogether, 12,731 B-17s were made; 5,000 were lost in service.
Jim Kimmel, a retired Air Force lieutenant and pilot in command of Sentimental Journey, said there are many reasons for people to check out the aircraft.
"It is so historical because it was the first one there (in Europe) in numbers. It is the one that's recognizable on every TV program you've ever seen on World War II. This is the airplane that carried our airmen over hostile territory," he said.
"We're lucky enough to have a few examples of this airplane left. The generation that fought and died in these airplanes are quickly leaving us. That brings us down to my generation and the generations that follow us. We need to let these people know what the generations of the 1940s and 1950s went through, what sacrifices they made so we have the freedoms we have here today."

While it's not exactly the air show, it is currently the only game in town since Air Rendezvous left town (the reason for which I still don't quite understand).

Posted by Marie at August 31, 2008 12:12 PM

Comments

I flew in an old WWII plane once. It was a DC-[can't remember]. It was not restored. It was, however, fully gutted. There was no heat. No air conditioning. No beverage service. No passenger seats. No seat belts. There were handles to hold onto so you didn't go careening around and hit the pilot in the back of the head. This was for love.

Posted by: Marie at August 31, 2008 12:54 PM

If offered, I'd go on a B-17 in a heartbeat.

Posted by: Rob Author Profile Page at August 31, 2008 6:58 PM

I agree, Rob. It's amazing how low to the ground this plane has been flying.

Posted by: Marie at August 31, 2008 10:14 PM

"12 O'Clock High."

I saw one back in the '90s. It was instantly recognizable--really an iconic aircraft.

Round these parts, there's a World War II-era DC-3 that flies most weekends. The engines actually sound beautiful.

Posted by: Dan at August 31, 2008 11:03 PM