The US Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA
) is to offer 30min flights on a restored Boeing
B-17G Flying Fortress bomber in groups of eight for $400 as part of a US tour of the aircraft.
The B-17G-VE (serial number 44-85740, nicknamed the "Aluminum Overcast") was donated to the EAA in 1983 following brief service with the US Army Air Corps in post-war 1945. Originally purchased as surplus from the military inventory for a mere $750 in 1946, the aircraft has now flown more than 1 million miles (1.65 million km) in its life as a cargo transport, an aerial mapping platform and in agricultural applications.
The B-17's return to its military roots began in 1978, when it was purchased by the B-17s Around the World group of investors, who latterly turned the aircraft over to the EAA once restoration costs became prohibitive in 1983. The subsequent restoration has taken more than 10 years and thousands of hours by dedicated staff and volunteers at EAA's Oshkosh
, Wisconsin, headquarters.
Now the association is seeking to recoup some of the costs by offering flights on Aluminum Overcast, which started in Millington, Tennessee earlier this month. The B-17 has already visited Little Rock, Arkansas, Shreveport, Louisiana and Dallas
, Texas and will head to Houston
this weekend. From there it will take in a third Texan city, Georgetown, Oklahoma
City and Tulsa in Oklahoma before returning to the Lone Star State with a touchdown in Amarillo
before heading to the south west with stopovers in Albuquerque
, New Mexico and the Arizonan cities of Flagstaff and Deer Park towards the end of next month.
The flight experiences (see video clip below) of around 35min (including 22min in the air) cost $360 for EAA members and $399 for non-members. Passengers will be allowed to move about the aircraft freely, including the nose, bomb bay, radio room, cockpit and waist sections.