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World War II bomber returns to Cedar Rapids

Public can look for free, fly for a price

A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress sits on the tarmac at The Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids on June 05, 2014. The plane
A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress sits on the tarmac at The Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids on June 05, 2014. The plane, “Aluminum Overcast,” is one of fewer than 15 B-17s that are still airworthy. The plane is returning to Cedar Rapids from Oct. 23 to 25. The public can book hourlong flights for a cost, or walk around the outside of the plane free of charge. (The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — History is flying in to Cedar Rapids next week and the public is invited to experience it from the ground or in the air.

The Experimental Aircraft Association is bringing its restored B-17 “Aluminum Overcast” World War II bomber to The Eastern Iowa Airport, 3435 Beech Way SW, from Oct. 23 to 25. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, those who choose to stay on the ground can walk around the plane from 2 to 5 p.m., but can’t go inside.

Those who want to go up can book a one-hour flight at eaa.org/shop/Flights/B17.aspx Public flights run hourly from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Costs in advance are $409 for EAA members and $449 for non-members; walk-up costs the day of are $435 for EAA members and $475 for non-members. Crew members will wear masks on-site and sanitize the aircraft after all flights. Visitors are asked to wear a mask during check-in and on the flight.

These Flying Fortresses were used primarily in Europe. Because of their long-range capability, they were known for flying into battle with no fighter escort, relying on their own defensive capabilities to ensure a successful mission. After the war, most were cut up for scrap, used for Air Force research or sold as surplus. Fewer than 15 B-17s remain airworthy.

Tour revenue will help cover maintenance and operations costs for the aircraft.

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