B-17 bomber to visit Lima

Staff report

MESA, Ariz. — One of the most iconic airplanes from World War II, B-17 bomber “Sentimental Journey,” will make a stop in Lima as part of its Summer Flying Legends of Victory Tour across U.S. and Canada.

The tour is made possible by the volunteers of the nonprofit Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum (AZCAF).

The public will have the opportunity to climb aboard the B-17 bomber to soak in the breathtaking stories of courage and service by Americans during one of the most important periods in U.S. history. The B-17 is an exceptionally rare aircraft, as it’s one of 10 in the world that is still flying. Nicknamed the “Flying Fortress,” the B-17 was a strategic weapon in WWII because of its ability to suffer extensive battle damage and still return home.

The plane will be at the Lima Allen Regional County Airport, 700 Airport Road, Lima, from June 12 through June 18. Tours of the plane will be available June 12, 16, 17 and 18 from 2 to 6 p.m.; and June 13, 14 and 15, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $10 per person; $20 for a family of four.

Flights are available June 16, 17 and 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets for flights cost $425 per waist compartment seat; $850 for bombardier/navigator seats in the nose. Flight tickets must be purchased in advance at http://bit.ly/LimaOH or 480-462-2992.

AZCAF was founded in 1977 and is the 10th chapter of the Commemorative Air Force. It comprises 500 member volunteers and seven flyable warbirds that offer living history rides. The fully-restored and rare B-17G and B-25J bombers and C-47/DC-3 Combat Legend conduct the Flying Legends of Victory Summer tour and visit approximately 50 cities throughout the United States and Canada. The AZCAF has 55,000 square feet of historical airplanes, relics, and educational exhibits, in addition to a working mechanics hangar. A Trip-Advisor Winner of Excellence, it’s one of the top-rated adventure attractions in Phoenix and regularly conducts tours for schools, businesses, and youth groups.

Built in 1944, the B-17 “Sentimental Journey” is only one of 10 B-17s in the world that is still flying out of almost 13,000 produced from 1936 to 1945. Eight thousand of them were lost in combat. The aircraft, developed by Boeing, was used in every theater of war from 1941 to 1945. The “Sentimental Journey” was originally manufactured and delivered to the U.S. Army Air Forces for war service in 1944, where she flew missions in the Pacific Theater. After the war, she flew for training, testing and at-sea rescue missions and was eventually sold for surplus and used as a fire bomber. In 1978, the aircraft was purchased by a Commemorative Air Force (CAF) member and donated to the newly formed Arizona unit of the world-famous CAF. She was meticulously restored, maintained in tip-top condition and is operated by all-volunteer crews from the membership of the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum.

The CAF honors the men and women who built, maintained and flew in airplanes during wartime. The organization believes that is best accomplished by maintaining these warbirds in flying condition and taking them to people to experience the sights and sounds of these treasured beauties in flight.

Collecting, restoring, and flying vintage historical aircraft for more than half a century, the CAF ranks as one of the largest private air forces in the world. The CAF is dedicated to honoring American military aviation through flight, exhibition and remembrance. A nonprofit educational organization, the CAF has more than 13,000 members and a fleet of 165 airplanes distributed throughout the country to 76 CAF units for care and operation. There are also four international affiliates in France, Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia. For information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org.


Staff report