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Saturday, January 10, 2015
One of World War II’s most historic bombers flies in on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for public tours and flights to Jacksonville’s Cecil Airport at Aeronautical Circle off 103rd Street.
The restored B-17G Flying Fortress “Aluminum Overcast,” one of only 13 still flying, was delivered to the U.S. Army Air Corps on May 18 1945. While it did not see action in World War II, the airplane has flown more than a million miles as a cargo hauler, aerial mapping platform and forest dusting applications before its 1983 restoration and donation to the EAA in Oshkosh, Wisc. Aluminum Overcast carries the colors of the 398th Bomb Group of World War II.
Public flights cost $475 and are scheduled for 10 and 11 a.m. as well as noon and 1 p.m. on all three days. Ground tours are $10 per adult or $20 per family and are held from 2 to 5 p.m.
The 30-minute flights are booked in sequential order beginning with the first flight of each day. For more information, check the EAA’s flight experience website here: https://www.eaa.org/en/eaa/flight-experiences/aluminum-overcast-eaa-b-17-bomber-tour
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A rare airplane from World War II is in Jacksonville this weekend, and you can ride in it if you are willing to pay.
There were 12,371 B-17 bombers manufactured in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The one in Jacksonville is the Aluminum Overcast, one of four remaining that fly often, bringing history to life.
The long-range bomber was a strategic weapon in World War II, dropping 640,000 tons of bombs in battle to stop the German invasion.
“They needed a daylight bomber,” said pilot George Daubner. “They needed something that could deliver a lot of munitions over Germany, over occupied France to beat back the German war machine. The world was being challenged by evil and these kids rose to the occasion.”
Pilot George Daubner has flown over 1,600 hours in the plane for the Experimental Aircraft Association, owners of the plane. They fly the plane to promote aviation, but also to honor those young men who fought for the United States.
“There was a 30 percent chance on any given day that these kids went flying that they weren’t going to come home. So they were true American heroes in every sense. For us to honor them, honor their memory, was why we started this program.”