A Flying Fortress visits Tyler

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POSTED: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 8:28pm

UPDATED: Monday, November 7, 2011 - 11:21pm

For the next couple of days, you can see, smell and tough a bit of living history.
A 70-year-old war her is visiting Tyler, and you can ride along for a trip back into time.
Think of it as a time machine made of aluminum and steel.
She made her maiden flight in 1935, but from 1942-1945, she also made history.
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress pounded Nazi Germany day in and day out, with relentless air raids that softened up Europe for an eventual allied invasion.
Along with the B-24 Liberator, these planes, and the Thunderbolts, Lightnings and Mustangs that escorted them, held the only Americans fighting in Europe until 1944.
And the Experimental Aircraft Association’s restored B-17 named for a famous cousin, the Aluminum Overcast, is one of only 13 still flying in the world.
Carrying 10 men on missions that were hours long, nearly 13,000 B-17’s were built in ten years, and 5500 of them were shot down over Europe and the Pacific, with a loss of 45,000 crewmembers.
This particular plane was one of the last, built in 1945, and therefore never made it to combat.
But the B-17 served on until the last one was retired from the Brazilian Air force in 1968.
The Aluminum Overcast will be here through Wednesday, and will be giving rides for a fee.
Of for a much smaller price, take a ground tour of the plane that took the greatest generation to war, and brought them home again.
Oh, and helped save the world in the bargain.

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