Historic B-17 ‘Aluminum Overcast’ Touring the United States

OSHKOSH, WI — One of the last flight worthy B-17 Flying Fortresses is touring the United States, allowing visitors the chance to climb inside or ride aboard one of the great aircraft of the the Greatest Generation.

The B-17G Aluminum Overcast was completed during the closing months of World War II. The nearly 75-foot long plane did not fly in combat, however she remains a testament to the hard working aircraft mechanics and engineers of yesteryear.

On the flight deck of the B-17 Flying Fortress Aluminum Overcast during a recent flight. (Charles A Atkeison)

“It’s a privilege being apart of this, and I still get goosebumps when I think of what the fellas went through overseas,” B-17 crew chief Jeff Martin expressed as we stood near the massive Flying Fortress. “They had a rough time of it as the aircraft flew at 25 to 30,000-feet, 40 below zero outside, and just being in the aircraft was dangerous enough let alone people shooting at you and trying to take you out of the sky.”

Over 12,730 these B-17 bombers were built during the first half of the 1940s, each designed to help win the war in the European and Pacific theaters. Today less than 12 are able to fly, and of that, Aluminum Overcast is one of a few which flies passengers on board.

Aluminum Overcast is living history, the last of the B-17 bombers to fly civilian passengers. (Charles A Atkeison)

“It is a truly amazing airplane to fly,” Sean Elliott, head of EAA Aircraft Operations and flies the aircraft on tour, said on Wednesday. “It’s more than an airplane, however. It’s a piece of living history that allows us to honor our veterans and talk about their sacrifices. It’s a true privilege to be able to do that throughout the country.”

B-17G Aluminum Overcast 2019 Tour Schedule:

August 16 – 18 | Waukegan, IL
August 20 | Kokomo, IN
August 23 – 25 | Richmond, IN
August 30 – Sept. 02 | Cincinnati, OH
September 06 – 08 | Willoughby, OH
September 13 – 15 | Ithaca, NY
September 17 | Glens Falls, NY
September 20 – 22 | Rutland, VT
September 27 – 29 | Keene, NH
October 04 – 06 | Hyannis, MA
October 11 – 13 | Westfield, MA
October 15 | Montgomery, NY
October 18 – 20 | Philadelphia, PA
October 25 – 27 | Manassas, VA
October 29 | Lynchburg, VA
November 01 – 03 | Morristown, TN
November 08 – 10 | Lawrenceville, GA
November 15 – 17 | Savannah, GA
November 22 – 24 | St. Simons Island, GA

(Charles Atkeison reports on aerospace and technology. Follow his updates via social media @Military_Flight.)