Visitors of the Aviation Museum of Kentucky will have a special opportunity this weekend to take a ride on a World War 2 bomber.
Nicknamed “Aluminum Overcast”, the B-17 Flying Fortress on display at the museum this weekend is one of many that flew combat missions against the Germans.
B-17 aircraft dropped more bombs than any other U.S. aircraft in World War 2, but many of them were shot down by the enemy.
“Their losses were very significant,” said Bernie Roke, a docent at the museum. “They flew out of England bombing strategic targets throughout Europe. In that time, they had more dead, wounded, captured, missing than the entire United States Navy.”
Although B-17 missions had some of the highest loss rates, Roke said the B-17 significantly diminished the Germans’ wartime capabilities.
Dale Ennis, the B-17 Tour Coordinator, said that much of the plane on display at the aviation museum is original.
“The airplane actually sat in the museum for several years before we restored it. It’s been flying now since ’94,” Ennis said.
Ennis is with the Experimental Aircraft Association, an organization of aviation enthusiasts. They tour the country with planes like the “Aluminum Overcast” to help preserve the history of aircraft like the B-17 and the B-24, which will also be on display at the museum later this year.
“Without the B-17 in World War 2, especially in Europe, who knows where we’d be today,” Ennis said.
The cost of riding on the “Aluminum Overcast” is $475, but EAA members get a $40 discount. Patrons visiting the museum this weekend will be able to tour the aircraft between flights. Visitors that want to reserve a seat on one of the many scheduled flights can do so by calling 920-371-2244.