19 July 2011

An Overcast day

with a lot of help from Wikipedia's article.

Aluminum Overcast is the Exprimental Aviation Association's B-17 Flying Fortress. She visited the QCs a couple of Saturdays ago.

Technically, the plane is a B-17G-105-VE, serial number 44-85740, built by the Vega Division of Lockheed (!-think of GM building Ford's cars). This particular plane never served in combat, having been built in May 1945. Most flying examples of the B-17 still existing were planes that either served as trainers in the States or built and moved to surplus. However, this plane was bought by a private citizen, who used it as a mapping plane, so the Overcast had a very interesting career mapping the remote corners of the world.

In the late 1970s, the Fort was bought and restored to a wartime appearance, mostly by veterans of the old 398th Bomb Group. The plane has nearly a million hours of flight time, the leader among the surviving Forts.
Today,  the EAA flies Aluminum Overcast to around 60 cities every summer. An enthusiast can even take a flight in her, if said enthusiast has a spare $465. Worth every penny if you're into historic aviation-there are only ten of these still flying. Fortunately, there are several more in museums around the world.

In addition, the local military vehicle club brought a couple of Jeeps to the airport:

The fellow in the pith helmet is I believe the owner of this classic WWII era Jeep, all resplendent with a major general's plate. The windshield frame bears the slogan 'HUMVEE RECOVERY UNIT'. You go, Jeep!

This model dates from the Korean War era, and Jeep made them like this for us civilians well into the 1980s. This bad boy sports the colors of the 45th 'Thunderbird' Infantry Division (Oklahoma National Guard), one of two National Guard divisions activated for the Korean War, and still exists today as 45th Infantry Brigade (Oklahoma). Someone around here has a Jeep with a .30 caliber machine gun on a pedestal mount. I saw it in the 4th of July parade. I'd drive that-and I bet I'd get a good parking spot wherever I went!

Anyhow, a few more pictures of Aluminum Overcast for your viewing pleasure:

Love the B-17. It has elegant lines not seen on the other major Allied heavy bomber types (B-24 Liberator, B-29 Superfortress, Lancaster), though the old Liberator jockeys at least will give an argument over which plane was the better of the two, and I suppose the surviving British, Canadian, and Australian Lancaster crewmen will argue for the British bird. They're all at this point great to see still flying.

As you can see from several of the photos, there was a line approximately the length of a communist-era bread line to tour the interior of the B-17. I decided that waiting an hour in the Midwest sun wasn't going to happen, so I pulled a photo of the cockpit of the Collings Foundation's B-17, Nine-O-Nine, to give an idea of what the interior of those old warbirds looked like.

Close quarters-but then so is the main office of a B-52.

A nice bit of aviation and military history to see. Keep 'em flying!

yankeedog out.


  1. A lovely tour of a great plane, thanks YDog.

  2. Bangar-B-17 is one of my faves. Always good for an argument with the Liberator jocks. Kind of like Spitfire v. Mustang.

    Moko-I do try!