World War II B-17 Bomber open for tours and flights in Hanover

Hanover County

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A piece of living history landed at the Hanover County Municipal Airport Monday. A World War II B-17 Bomber will now be open to the public for ground tours and flights at the airport.

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, named the Sentimental Journey, is one of five Bombers still flying today out of 12,000 that were manufactured for combat.

“My grandfather actually fought in World War II, so anytime there’s any World War II stuff going on, I always like to look at it,” said Sulu Rose Reed, who took her son and their friend to visit the aircraft. “It’s a piece of history and the technology behind it, to think that that was created, it is a technological marvel,” Reed added.

The Sentimental Journey was built in 1944 and flew various missions in the Pacific. “It’s a representation of what America is capable of, what we stood for and how we helped defend not only the United States, but also our allies,” said Ian Wright with the Commemorative Air Force, the organization that brought the aircraft to Central Virginia.

A machine gun in the fuselage, or body, of the aircraft.

The aircraft could fly at 160 miles per hour and reach a maximum altitude of 36,000 feet. After World War II, the aircraft was used for training, testing and air-sea rescue missions in the Pacific, eventually being sold as a fire bomber. The plane was purchased by the Commemorative Air Force in 1978 and is fully restored.

When World War II veterans who fought in a B-17 come to visit the aircraft, they get to sign their names on the Sentimental Journey.

“It was just kind of neat to see history in the fact that, just 75 years ago, they were doing things so much differently than we do them now,” Reed told 8News.

The B-17 Bomber will be at the Hanover County Municipal Airport Sept. 14 to 20. It is open to the public for ground tours Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Rides will be available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You can book a ride online here or call 480-462-2992.

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