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'Aluminum Overcast' Takes to the Air For EAA's B-17 National 'Salute To Veteran's' Tour

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (Jan. 26, 2009)Aluminum Overcast, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s restored B-17 bomber, returns to the sky on April 3 in Chino, Calif., the first stop of nearly 60 planned for the 2009 “Salute to Veterans” national tour.

The first portion of EAA’s tour schedule includes 16 stops in five states between April 3 and June 3. The yearlong tour will continue into late fall, with the airplane back “home” for the full week of EAA’s annual AirVenture fly-in on July 27-August 2 in Oshkosh, Wis.

The national B-17 tours have taken place each spring and fall since 1994. Since EAA began the tours of the aircraft known as “The Flying Fortress,” tens of thousands of people have experienced this unique airplane through its visits and aircraft ground tours. Thousands of aviation enthusiasts have actually flown in the renowned bomber, which is considered one of the greatest military airplanes ever built and one of the best-known aircraft types of the World War II era.

“The national tour EAA undertakes each year has become the nation’s most popular way to learn about this unique aircraft in an up-close way,” said Tom Poberezny, EAA President. “EAA is dedicated to preserving the spirit of aviation through these B-17 tours. This year, we also take great pride in saluting all our nation’s veterans as the airplane makes its way throughout our country.”

At each stop, flight “missions” are available in the airplane, which allow people to fly in this spectacular aircraft. For more information regarding these flights, including rates for flights and ground tours, visit the www.b17.org website or contact EAA’s B-17 Tour Office at 800-359-6217. Special pre-book rates on flights are available for EAA members and non-members, and group ground-tour rates are available for schools or other large groups. The airplane’s crew is available at each stop to answer questions.

Through the past decade of national tours, EAA’s B-17 has created many emotional reunions for veterans who participated in B-17 operations during World War II. For most, it was their first experience in a Flying Fortress since that era. Even though more than six decades have passed since their wartime experience, the veterans’ outpouring of emotion and memories have created a unique link to the original purpose of this aircraft. The veterans have often shared their stories, while also recalling and honoring their long-ago comrades, during the B-17’s visits to their communities.

EAA’s Aluminum Overcast was built in 1945, but was delivered to the Army Air Corps too late to see active service in World War II. It was purchased as war surplus for $750 by a private individual, and served in mapping and spraying operations in many countries until a preservation group purchased it in 1978. The B-17 was donated to the EAA Aviation Foundation in 1981 with the provision of the aircraft being maintained in airworthy condition. After being displayed at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wis., for a decade, the airplane made its national tour debut in the spring of 1994. EAA now fully owns the aircraft and operates the national tour.

Members of the EAA Warbirds of America who are experienced in World War II airplane operations will fly the airplane, which is painted in the colors of the 398th Bomb Group.

EAA embodies the spirit of aviation through the world’s most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts. EAA’s 170,000 members and 1,000 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to www.eaa.org.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: A tour itinerary is included with this release. Interviews with EAA organizers and the tour’s pilots are available, as is high-resolution photography. Contact Dick Knapinski at dknapinski@eaa.org for more information.

EAA B-17 ‘SALUTE TO VETERANS’ 2009 NATIONAL TOUR SCHEDULE

(as of 1/26/2009 - Schedule subject to change without notice.)

Dates ……………..City (Airport ID)
April 3-5 Chino, Calif. (CNO)
April 7-8 San Diego, Calif. (SEE)
April 10-12 Torrance, Calif. (TOA)
April 14-15 Camarillo, Calif. (CMA)
April 17-19………..Van Nuys, Calif. (VNY)
April 21-22 Visalia, Calif. (VIS)
April 24-26 Hayward, Calif. (HWD)
April 28-29 Stockton, Calif. (SCK)
May 1-3 Napa, Calif. (APC)
May 5-6 Truckee, Calif. (TRK)
May 8-10 Sacramento, Calif. (MHR)
May 12-13…………Redding, Calif. (RDD)
May 15-17…………Portland, Ore. (HIO)
May 20-26……………Seattle, Wash. (BFI)
May 29-31……………Ogden, Utah (OGD)
June 3-9……………Denver, Colo. (APA)

NOTE: All tour stops, times and locations are subject to change without notice. More fall tour stops will be added at a later date. Ground tours will be available after mission flights are complete. Ground Tours are not available on moving days.

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