B-17 Flying Fortress Spends A Weekend In Shreveport

Oct 27, 2017

EAA's "Aluminum Overcast" is a restored B-17 Flying Fortress that tours 50 cities a year and offers flights.
Credit Courtesy: EAA

A FLYING MUSEUM -  More than 12,000 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses were built for service in World War II.  Today only 11 of these magnificient planes are deemed airworthy and only 7 are currently flying.  This weekend one of the Flying Fortresses will spend the weekend at Shreveport's downtown airport to offer flights and tours for those interested in experiencing a piece of history.  The plane is operated and maintained by the Experimental Aircraft Association based in OshKosh, Wisconsin.  To raise money to keep the plane restored and in flying condition,  the EAA  tours 50 cities a year,  flying the vintage plane so people can see one of the few planes in existence today.  Tom Ewing is a former native of Shreveport who left years ago to fly for UPS.  He has since retired but volunteers as a pilot for the Aluminum Overcast B-17 tour.  "It's one of the most rarest airplanes that you could find,"  explains Ewing.  "We're all volunteers,  none of us are compensated to do this.  We do this to honor the war veterans. Every dime that comes from the proceeds to the sales of the tickets,  we get from tickets to fly on this airplane goes to  maintenaning the airplane.  It takes a lot. "

Tom Ewing, EAA volunteer and pilot
Credit Courtesy: EAA-Facebook

Jack Lenox, Jr. is a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel from Oklahoma and is the last surviving  P-38 Lockheed ace fighter pilot who flew escort missions with B-17 squadrons in Europe during World War II.  He got to fly on the B-17 this past Friday.  "It brings back old history and old memories."  Lenox adds, "I think people need to know what happened.  War was a little bit tougher than mos tpeople think it was.  We lost a lot of people, in particular bomber-crews."

Lt.Col. John Lenox, Jr USAF-Retired - The last surviving P-38 Lockheed Ace fight pilot who flew escort for B-17 bombing missions in Europe during WW2.
Credit Courtesy: Chuck Smith Photo

Flying in a B-17 was the most dangerous assignment one could have during WWII.  Of the more than 12,000 Flying Fortresses build,  more than 4,700 were shot out of the sky, each with 10 man crews.  Some made it but most didn't.  The EAA’s  Aluminum Overcast will be at Shreveport’s Downtown Airport through this weekend. If you're interested in a flight or tour check this website:

 https://www.eaa.org/en/eaa/flight-experiences/aluminum-overcast-eaa-b-17-bomber-tour