Monday, July 1, 2013

History Comes Alive as EAA's B-17 "Aluminum Overcast" Makes Stop in St. Louis

By Leo Cachat
By Carmelo Turdo

The Experimental Aircraft Association's Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress "Aluminum Overcast" made its St. Louis area stop today at St. Louis Downtown Airport as part of a summer tour prior to returning for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh later in July.  The World War II era heavy bomber parked in front of the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, located in historic 1929 Curtiss-Wright Hangar 2.  The visit, sponsored by EAA Chapter 64, will continue until July 4 when it performs in the Fair St. Louis Airshow and then flies to Spirit of St. Louis Airport where it will remain until Sunday. The Aero Experience contributors Carmelo Turdo and Leo Cachat were on hand to greet the B-17 as it arrived around 12:30pm and as the crew prepared to make two flights along the Mississippi riverfront with local media representatives and several B-17 crew veterans  aboard.
The Aero Experience Founder Carmelo Turdo flew on the first B-17 flight from St. Louis Downtown Airport, which took off around 1:45pm.  Securely harnessed in the canvass seat across from the right rear exit, Turdo experienced a fairly sanitized version of what flying in a B-17 was like about 70 years ago.  "Flying in the tail section of a large tail-wheeled aircraft is a unique experience, in that you can feel the affects of the rudder inputs during the takeoff run and feel the tail wheel settle on the runway on landing," he said after the flight.  "After takeoff, we had a few minutes to walk around the various crew stations and let our minds wander and imagine ourselves in these aircraft during combat conditions.  I am amazed at how men half my age managed to go to battle in these aircraft - they have my highest respect and admiration."  

The B-17 will be available for public flights Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning at St. Louis Downtown Airport beginning at 9:00am each day.  You can also get your photo taken and printed by David Judd of Judd's Custom Photos while you wait.  We will show you our flight aboard the B-17 today from the ground and from the air, and we strongly encourage you to take a flight aboard the B-17 while it is in the St. Louis area.

Special thanks to the Experimental Aircraft Association, EAA Chapter 64, the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, and Ideal Aviation for making this aero experience possible.

The Arrival:


The Flight: 

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