One Week to the B-17!

The B-17 Aluminum Overcast is due to arrive at Manassas on Wednesday, 10/23/2019; she’s almost here! And we need to get ready. If you haven’t already signed up to help out at http://eaa186.org/upcoming-events-2/, please go there now and pledge your time; we need help every day on the ramp, in the terminal, making and selling lunches, and prepping for (and cleaning up after!) the Friday Big Bomber BBQ at the Chapter House. Many hands make light work; come join the fun!

Our media day on Thursday, 10/24/2019, will be much busier than usual, since the 43rd Bomb Group (5th Air Force) Association is spending the afternoon with us – and that will start with a catered lunch for about 50 people in the terminal lobby at noon. We’ll need to set up tables and chairs before that lunch and clean up afterward. The media flights at 2:00 and 2:30 will include five WWII veterans, so we’ll get to hear some great stories! After the media event, the Bomb Group members will be taking free ground tours through the plane, so our work won’t wrap up until about 4:00 pm.

Friday through Sunday promise to be busy. We’ve already sold 62 seats on the plane, and expect to sell more before she gets here. Keep spreading the word that she’s coming!

And there’s only a few days left to get in on the B-17 raffle! We’ve still got tickets available in both raffles, at $10 each. I’ll be pulling the winning tickets at about 5:00 pm on Saturday, 10/19/2019; do you feel lucky?

Finally, I know there may be some questions and concerns following the Collings Foundation B-17 accident last week. The FAA and NTSB are investigating that accident, and we’re all waiting to learn what happened. Out of respect for all the people affected by that tragedy, EAA did not conduct any flights at their Hyannis, MA tour stop this past weekend, refunding all payments by prebooked passengers, and simply offered free ground tours through the plane. Normal tour operations have now resumed, and the plane will be flying at Westfield, MA this coming weekend.

For anyone concerned, all I can say is, EAA’s safety record operating this B-17 for the past 25 years is stellar. The inspection protocol for this airplane is at an equivalent level of safety to many commercial air operations. Inspections occur every day prior to flight, as well as deeper inspections every 25 hours of flight and major inspections at 125 hours of flight. The required annual inspection looks at every function of the airplane to make sure it is performing at the highest level. Our mechanics are required to have special, specific training on B-17 aircraft. Our pilots each have thousands of hours of piloting time prior to ever applying to be a B-17 pilot, with extensive flying experience in multi-engine aircraft and tailwheel aircraft, and long experience in airline, corporate or military flying. Each pilot candidate is carefully vetted before being allowed to begin training. Those who succeed in the training are then placed in the right seat (second-in-command) for more than a year before they are allowed to serve as pilot-in-command. All pilots must hold FAA commercial pilot certificates, receive and pass annual B-17 recurrent training, and maintain all proper FAA medical certificates to fly the B-17.

We keep her flying to bring living history to people throughout the country, to help people understand the role these aircraft – and all the men and women who built, flew, and maintained them – played in preserving our freedom during World War II.

Be part of that mission. Enlist today.