July is our most patriotic month. To honor that spirit, we recently took a ride on a Boeing B-17 -- nicknamed the Aluminum Overcast -- which visited the Centennial Airport in Englewood as one of its stops on the flying tour it is taking across the nation.
Made in 1945, this particular flying fortress missed World War II, but as a result, it now exists to bring back memories for the veterans who once flew in these bombers.
Several WWII veterans who flew the B-17 were able to take a ride in the one that visited Colorado. One of the veterans in attendance had flown almost thirty missions in a B-17 and he, and his whole crew, always made it back to base.
"It's about the sturdiest airplane ever built," says Ken Seaman, a pilot in the air transport command. "You might see pictures of the B-17 coming back from missions all over Germany all shot to pieces but they were still flying. They were pretty hard to destroy. Anyone who served on a bomber crew knew this was the plane to be in."
Veterans like Seaman are the reason the Aluminum Overcast travels across the nation. With every stop, the plane gives visitors a chance to explore the air craft, meet with veterans, hear their stories and see other WWII displays.
Pilot Ken Morris is one of the crew members who brought the Aluminum Overcast to Colorado. He describes flying this beast as driving a cement mixer with no power steering. Not only is it a fun sight to see but also it is a great way to remember the history of the men and women who fought in World War II.
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"This was fun. I haven't been in one since the war. This was a delightful experience and a beautiful plane," Seaman says.