Restored B-17 available for tours at Lee’s Summit

rpulley@lsjournal.comJune 12, 2013 

The Aluminum Overcast, a B-17 bomber restored by the Experimental Aircraft Association, will be at Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport this weekend for tours and flights.

The plane was to visit last year, but it was damaged in a hailstorm and had to be repaired.

Boeing built the Aluminum Overcast in 1945 but delivered it too late to the U.S. Army Air Corps to see active service in World War II.

Aviation historians consider the B-17 to be one of the greatest military airplanes ever built. Nicknamed the Flying Fortress, Boeing produced 12,732 of the bombers in various models between 1935 and 1945. Today fewer than 15 are airworthy, with many scrapped after the war.

The B-17 was a long-range bomber, equipped with .50-caliber machine guns mounted on turrets for defense. They often flew deep into enemy territory without fighter escorts. Flights in the bomber are available for a fee.

“It’s a really good experience,” said Pam Ratliff, secretary of the EAA Chapter 91, “Feeling the history and thinking of those planes having those soldiers in them and firing those guns...when you think of those things when you’re up there, it’s an amazing feeling.”

Ground tours are available 2 to 5 p.m. June 14, 15 and 16, and free to active military personnel, veterans, and children, with a $10 charge to individuals, and a family package is available.

Flights are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. available to non-EAA members in advance at $449; on site $475. Advance reservations at or call 800-359-6217.

EAA Chapter 91 also will be offering a pancake breakfast 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. June 15 and Young Eagle flights from 8:30 a.m. to noon, weather permitting. Flights are free for youth ages 8 to 17 years of age. A parent or legal guardian must fill out and sign a permission form that is available at the event. Reservations are not necessary; however, group leaders should contact Chris St.Germain in advance at 816-737-3286.

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