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B-17 Flying Fortress Educates Visitors On Crucial - And Costly - Air War

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
The Aluminum Overcast at the Eugene Airport.

A formidable weapon against the Axis powers is visiting the Eugene Airport this weekend.  The World War Two-era bomber – a B-17 Flying Fortress called the “Aluminum Overcast” – will offer visitors a chance to learn of the aircraft's role in disrupting the Nazi supply chain.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports:  

The Flying Fortress was designed and built by Boeing in the 1930s.  This one was built in 1945, too late for service, but it’s been painted to look like one from the 398th Bomb Group which did raids across Europe.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Bobby Osborne

Among those eager to fly on it is Korean War Air Force veteran Bobby Osborne, who’s an avid history buff.

“The worst raid that they had over there, was on the ball-bearing plant over in Schweinfurt, Germany," says Osborne.  

"They lost 60 bombers on that raid.  That’s 600 people. 

"People today would not have the freedom if these guys had not sacrificed there.” 

Credit SDASM Archives / Flickr.com
Fighter planes and flak took a heavy toll on many B-17s.

The AluminumOvercast was donated to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) based in Wisconsin more than three decades ago.  It’ll eventually be housed at its “Eagle Hangar”, but until then, people can take in this flying relic through ground tours or flights.

WEB EXTRA: Watch the Aluminum Overcast arrive at the Eugene Airport

WEB EXTRA: Watch a 2-minute video feature of the Aluminum Overcast's flight over the Eugene-Springfield area.

WEB EXTRA:  Hear an audio postcard by KLCC's Brian Bull, who flew on the Aluminum Overcast B-17 on a media flight over the Eugene-Springfield area.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC




Copyright 2017, KLCC

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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