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Sat, Jan 12, 2008

EAA's 'Aluminum Overcast' Takes To The Skies Again In Spring 2008

B-17 Will Travel Throughout West On National 'Salute To Veterans' Tour

Aluminum Overcast, the Experimental Aircraft Association's restored B-17 bomber, will return to the sky on March 28 in Las Vegas, NV, the first stop of nearly 60 planned for the 2008 "Salute to Veterans" national tour. The first portion of EAA's tour schedule includes more than 15 stops in six states between March 28 and June 4.

The yearlong tour will continue into late fall, with the airplane back "home" for the full week of EAA's annual AirVenture fly-in on July 28-August 3 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," said 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 the aircraft. Through the past decade of national tours, EAA's B-17 has created many emotional reunions for veterans who participated in B-17 operations during World War II.

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.

FMI: www.b17.org, www.eaa.org

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