Aluminum Overcast, a fully restored World War II-era B-17 bomber, continues on its annual tour throughout the United States, landing at Waukegan Regional Airport Tuesday, Aug. 20, and Wednesday, Aug. 21.
The tour venue is part of the 2013 "Experience History" tour. Local residents will have the opportunity to watch history come alive in this military aircraft known as the Flying Fortress.
Since the Experimental Aircraft Association began touring the aircraft, tens of thousands of people have experienced this unique airplane through its flights and ground tours. The B-17 bomber is considered one of the greatest military airplanes ever built and one of the best-known aircraft types of the World War II era. There are fewer than 15 B-17s in the world still airworthy.
In the early 1940s, the B-17 Flying Fortress was the latest, state-of-the-art bomber of the United States Army Air Corp. Missions often lasted 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 ensure successful missions.
Although Aluminum Overcast was delivered on May 18, 1945, too late to see action in World War II, she flies the country today as a touring museum. Brought back to life in 1994, the restoration of Aluminum Overcast was a massive undertaking by the EAA to return the bomber to her former glory as the aircraft that turned the tide of World War II.
The restoration took more than 10 years and thousands of hours from dedicated staff and volunteers at EAA's headquarters in Oshkosh, Wis.
Those touring the aircraft, whether by air or by ground, will get to climb aboard the 65,000-pound B-17 bomber and stand in the footsteps of the bombardier, the navigator, and the waist gunner. Each air tour participant will receive a keepsake of their experience noting facts about Aluminum Overcast.
Proceeds from the tour help keep Aluminum Overcast flying and will assist the continuing restoration, maintenance and preservation efforts of the B-17.
For information on EAA's B-17 flights and ground tours, visit www.B17.org/waukegan or call (800) 359-6217.