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

May 4, 2017

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

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.

Bobby Osborne
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

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.” 

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

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



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