B-17 Flight Brings Back Memories

Saturday, November 4th 2006, 2:13 pm
By: News On 6

Some high-flying heroes from a very different war relive their glory days in the air. The men who flew the B-17 in World War II will live forever in aviation history.

Some of those men gathered in Jenks on Saturday. News on 6 reporter Chris Wright says it was an emotional morning for the veterans, and their families, as they got one last chance to take to the skies.

Before Saturday morning, Pat Williams had not stepped foot in a B-17 since he was flying them over Germany more than 60 years ago. He was among the dozens of people in Jenks, at Jones Riverside Airport who took 20-minute rides in the World War II era bomber.

Built in the 1943, the B-17 belongs to the Experimental Aircraft Association. Each year, the group and its volunteers bring the aircraft to airports throughout the country.

Tour coordinator Al Hallett says the tours give former pilots a chance to re-connect with the plane they once flew, and for a new generation to appreciate it, "to remind the new generations coming up what the B-17 was, who the men who were flew it, and the sacrifices they made."

Douglas Moore went up in the bomber to honor his late father, a B-17 pilot who flew missions over Germany. As a tribute, he even donned his dad's old bomber's jacket. "Queen of hearts, that was the name of his aircraft, like I said he flew 30 missions, so it was quite an honor," Moore said.

Douglas says that during his flight, he couldn't help but think about what his father and other pilots went through during World War II, "thought about him and all the crew members that flew during the war, it's just amazing what they had to put up with and the conditions."

Former pilot, Pat Williams, who endured those conditions, says Saturday's flight brought back a flood of emotions, but it was worth it, "it was really nice to get back in one and have the experience we had today."

Volunteers with the Experimental Aircraft Association say the best part of the B-17 tour is meeting people like Pat Williams, and hearing their stories.