HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Hagerstown Aviation Museum welcomed a new aircraft for an exhibition this week, a B-17 Flying Fortress called “Sentimental Journey.”
John Seburn, the President of Hagerstown Aviation Museum, says he is pleased to see the aircraft added for exhibition. “It’s exciting to visit one of the historical aircraft when it comes to Hagerstown. We had some in the past, B-29, B-24, some other World War II planes. We have a lot of people in our area with an interest in aviation.”
The aircraft took off and made several stops along its way before it touched down at Hagerstown Regional Airport. The B-17, which is maintained by Commemorative Air Force, has its long history all the way back to World War II. B-17, manufactured by Boeing, is one of only five currently flying in the world. It is one of more than 12,000 aircraft that was built for combat during World War II. According to the Commemorative Air Force, B-17 had its cruise speed around 160 miles per hour, along with a maximum altitude of 36,000 feet.
“We fly these planes to honor the veterans that flew them during the war and to educate the public. That’s our ambition as the commemorative air force. The commemorative air force is a very large organization that has many historical aircraft,” said Mike, a B-17 co-pilot.
“All these aircraft are designed to take off and fly 12-hour missions sometime so they have a lot of fuel on board and carry heavy bombs to go far away to bomb the distant place and come back. So, these days it’s quite a pleasure to fly it from the historical perspective,” Mike explained.
“After the war, a lot of airplanes manufactured during the war still have good use in the civilian world. Every flight, we check the system to make sure it is operating properly. Anytime it doesn’t seem right, we don’t fly and we have these things fixed,” Mike added.
A member of Commemorative Air Force purchased the aircraft and donated it to the newly formed Arizona unit of the CAF. All-volunteer crews restored it and currently maintain the aircraft.
The aircraft is currently in the exhibition from August 24 to August 30 at the Hagerstown Aviation Museum. The aircraft will be opened to the public for ground tours from Tuesday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Monday, Friday-Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information visit www.azcaf.org/tour or call (480) 452-2992.
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