Find out how you can take a ride in a WWII B-17 bomber

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - It's the type of plane  known as the "Flying Fortress." It's a  World War II B-17 bomber, and this weekend, you can take a ride on one.

NewsChannel 9 got a sneak peak at the aircraft, with two veteran pilots inside the cockpit.

There are only a handful of the historic planes left in flying condition. During the war, flight crews were required to complete 25 missions, which was a rare feat.

The aircrafts carried 10 men per mission and in the early days of war, it was risky. They were flying over enemy territory. Most airmen knew when they set foot inside the plane, there was only a 20% chance they would land safely

Veterans are now getting a chance to go for a ride, often for the first time since the 1940's.

"When they were flying these aircrafts they were 17,18,19 years old and now they're in their 80's and 90's. Yet, when they step inside that airplane, the transformation is amazing. They're 17,18,19 again," says pilot Jim Lawrence.

Lawrence's co-pilot John Hess adding, "Many times the families will tell us 'he's never told us that story' or 'he won't even talk about World War II,' but when they get around the airplane or another veteran and start swapping stories, it's really amazing."

For the volunteer pilots, it's about hearing those stories and preserving that part of our history.

"We need to remember why we have such a great country. Freedom isn't free. There's a lot of sacrifices being made, even today, by our military," explains Lawrence. "It's just something that we cannot allow to be forgotten."

The public can take a ride in the "Madras Maiden," the B-17 that is currently touring the country.

It's $450.00 per person for a half hour. Flights are available Saturday, August 19th and Sunday, August 20th.

You can also take a ground tour of the plane. Those are free and happening Saturday and Sunday afternoon. The number to call for more information is (918) 340-0243.

 


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