The B-17G Yankee Lady made a stop in Walnut Ridge as part of its World War II Salute to Victory southern tour.
The Wings of Honor Museum hosted the rare World War II bomber, which is based at Willow Run Airport in Michigan, on Monday and Tuesday. Many traveled to Walnut Ridge to tour the four-engine heavy bombardment aircraft, commonly called a Flying Fortress.
“As a community rich with World War II history, we were honored to have this rare aircraft plan a two-day visit here,” said Harold Johnson, president of the Wings of Honor Museum Board.
Johnson said the B-17 is the type of four-engine heavy bomber that initiated daylight strategic bombing in World War II. Its purpose was to fly high and deep into enemy territory striking high value targets such as munitions factories, oil refineries and military installations.
According to Johnson, 12,731 of these stout aircraft were built between 1936 and 1945. With a crew of 10 and defensive armaments of up to 13 fifty caliber machine guns, the B-17 became known as the Flying Fortress. More than 5,000 were shot down over Europe during the historic air war; over 1,200 were cut up and melted at Walnut Ridge in 1946 and 1947.
In addition to touring the aircraft, flights were available for purchase, but Monday’s schedule was grounded due to weather. Organizers were hopeful that at least some of the flights would be able to be flown on Tuesday afternoon.