Once again the EAA’s B-17 Aluminum Overcast is on tour. The west coast swing will land in the Southwestern U.S. during the first months of 2017.
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a World War II bomber used primarily in Europe. B-17s from the Eighth Air Force participated in countless missions from bases in England, often lasting for more than eight hours, and struck at targets deep within enemy territory. Because of their long-range capability, formations of B-17s often flew into battle with no fighter escort, relying on their own defensive capabilities to insure a successful mission.
EAA’s B-17G-VE, serial number 44-85740 – nicknamed Aluminum Overcast, was delivered to the U.S. Army Air Corps on May 18, 1945. Although delivered too late to see action in World War II, the airplane still has an interesting history.
Purchased as surplus from the military inventory for a mere $750 in 1946, the airplane has flown more than 1 million miles. It has served as a cargo hauler, an aerial mapping platform and in pest control and forest dusting applications.
Return to Military Roots
The airplane’s return to its military roots began in 1978, when it was purchased by a group of investors who wished to preserve the heritage of the magnificent B-17. The group, “B-17s Around the World,” was headed by Dr. Bill Harrison. Their goal was to return the B-17 to its former glory.
Donation to EAA
The economic reality of simply maintaining a vintage bomber, let alone the cost of restoration, prompted the group to donate the B-17 to EAA in 1983. Since that time, an extensive program of restoration and preservation was undertaken to ensure Aluminum Overcast would be a living reminder of World War II aviation for many years to come. The restoration took than 10 years and thousands of hours by dedicated staff and volunteers at EAA’s headquarters in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Aluminum Overcast proudly carries the colors of the 398th Bomb Group of World War II, which flew hundreds of missions over Nazi-held territory during the war. Aluminum Overcast commemorates B-17G #42-102516 which was shot down on its 34th combat mission over Le Manior, France, on August 13, 1944. Veterans of the 398th helped finance the bomber’s restoration.
When the airplane was sold in 1946, most of the original military equipment had been removed. Over the years, these items have been located, restored and returned to Aluminum Overcast. These include:
- The Norden bombsight located in the nose of the airplane
- Restoration of the navigator’s position also located in the nose of the airplane
- Installation of the waist guns located on each side of the bomber
- Rebuilding the radio compartment, including original communications equipment
- Returning the airplane’s floor to its original specifications
- Installation of a complete tail turret assembly
- Installation of a replica top turret just behind the pilot and co-pilot seats
The airplane was on display at the EAA AirVenture Museum until October 1993 when it was moved to EAA’s Kermit Weeks Flight Research Center for maintenance and restoration in preparation for its first national tour in 1994. The B-17 will eventually be housed in the EAA AirVenture Museum’s “Eagle Hangar,” which features numerous World War II aircraft and exhibits.
The vintage bomber will makes stops at the following airports during January and February, 2017:
January 27-29, 2017 Marana, AZ – Marana Regional Airport
Field Location: Main Terminal, 11700 W Avra Valley Rd, Marana, AZ 85653
February 3-5, 2017 Prescott, AZ – Ernest A Love Field Airport
Field Location: Legend Aviation, 2020 Clubhouse Dr, Prescott, AZ 86301
February 10-12, 2017 Phoenix, AZ – Phoenix Deer Valley Airport
Field Location: Cutter Aviation, 530 W Deer Valley Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85027
February 17-19, 2017 Kingman, AZ – Kingman Airport
Field Location: Kingman Airport Terminal (next to the Control Tower), 6000 Flightline Drive, Kingman AZ 86401
February 24-26, 2017 Lake Havasu, AZ – Lake Havasu City Airport
Field Location: Desert Skies Executive Air, 5600 N Hwy 95 #6, Lake Havasu, AZ 86404
March 3-5, 2017 Long Beach, CA – Long Beach Airport/Daugherty Field
Field Location: TBD
For More info http://www.eaa.org/en/eaa/flight-experiences/aluminum-overcast-eaa-b-17-bomber-tour/b-17-aluminum-overcast-tour-stops