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May 7, 2013 > World War II bomber takes to Hayward skies

World War II bomber takes to Hayward skies

By Julie Grabowski
Photos By Julie Grabowski

Take your weekend to all new heights aboard a historic World War II bomber. The Experimental Aircraft Association's (EAA) B-17 bomber "Aluminum Overcast" will be in Hayward May 10 - 12 giving the community a unique opportunity to experience living history.

Also known as "The Flying Fortress," the B-17 is considered to be one of the greatest military planes ever built and one of the most well known types of aircraft from the World War II era. Built in 1945, the "Aluminum Overcast" was delivered to the Army Air Corps too late to see action in World War II, but was put to work over the years as a cargo hauler, used for aerial mapping, pest control, and forest dusting. In 1978 it was purchased by a group of investors called "B-17s Around the World" who wanted to preserve the history of the plane and restore it to its glory days. Maintenance and restoration costs drove the group to donate it to EAA in 1983. After 10 years of restoration work, "Aluminum Overcast" made it's first national tour in 1994.

The aircraft is powered by four nine-cylinder, radial, air-cooled, 1,200 horsepower engines; has a basic weight of 34,000 pounds; a wing span of 103 feet, 9 inches; can hold 1,700 gallons of fuel; is armed with 13 Browning M-2 .50 caliber machine guns; and has a cruising speed of 170 mph with a maximum speed of 300 mph at 30,000 feet.

A ride on one of the few remaining airworthy B-17s in the world is unforgettable, but for those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, walk-through tours of the plane will also be available.

In conjunction with the presence of the B-17, Hayward Airport will host an Open House on Saturday, May 11 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. This free event treats attendees to a display of airplanes, a control tower tour and airplane rides for kids. Signs will be posted to show the way to both the B-17 location and the Open House.

B-17 flights cost $449 for non-EAA members if purchased in advance through Wednesday, May 8, and $475 after. Cost for members is $409 in advance and $435 after May 8. Book online at www.B17.org. Walk through tours begin after each day's flights. Ground tours are $10 per person and free for veterans; discounts are available for large groups or families.

Proceeds from the event helps to maintain the "Aluminum Overcast." A percentage also goes to EAA's Vintage Aircraft Association Chapter 29 in Hayward that promotes interest in aviation through the Young Eagles program.

For more information, visit www.B17.org or contact EAA's B-17 Tour Office at 1-800-359-6217. To learn more about Young Eagles or to sign up, contact Pat Polehla at youngeagles29@aol.com.

B-17 "Aluminum Overcast" in Hayward
Friday - Sunday, May 10 - 12
Flights: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Walk Through Tours: 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Hayward Executive Airport
Control Tower Base
20301 Skywest Drive, Hayward
1-800-359-6217
www.B17.org
www.vaa29.org
Cost: $10 walk through tour, $475 for flight

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