UPDATE: B17 Bomber Lands in Kearney for Flight, Ground Tours

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Aviation enthusiasts in Kearney are hosting a special guest this week - an airworthy B17, and they're inviting the public to come experience history with them.

The Kearney chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association says the Aluminum Overcast will be at the Kearney Aviation Center on June 11 and June 12.

Volunteer pilots who fly the bomber say it came off the line just as World War II ended.

"They bombed fire ants in Alabama with it, and they mapped most of the African continent with it, it's been all around the world, but it eventually fell out of use," says pilot Scott Hartwig.

It's one of about a dozen Flying Fortresses left in the world that can still fly, so the Experimental Aviation Association takes it around the country for ground and flight tours.

The crew says it's a rare opportunity for the public to see a working B17, but also lets World War II veterans get inside a craft they last boarded decades ago.

Tony Shada, a veteran who served in Europe during the war, says he didn't serve in a B17, but remembers them well.

"I was in the communication section, my job was to lay wire and service it and to sit on the switchboard and take messages," says Shada.

Shada says remembering the war isn't always easy, but he came to the airfield to share some of his experiences with family.

"Just kind of reminisce," he says.

The Kearney members of the EAA hosting the bomber are building their own planes from scratch, and say a look at the past is eye-opening.

"Aircraft have really changed, we've got of course jet engines, all kinds of other equipment we can use and a lot of new designs and so they're really a big increase in what we have safety wise and also good aircraft," says Jerry May, EAA member.




 
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