The Wings of Honor Museum has announced it is hosting a rare World War II bomber on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 19-20.
The B-17G Yankee Lady is a four-engine heavy bombardment aircraft, commonly called a Flying Fortress. The plane, which is based at Willow Run Airport in Michigan, is making the stop as part of its World War II Salute to Victory southern tour.
“As a community rich with World War II history, we are honored to have this rare aircraft plan a two-day visit here,” said Harold Johnson, president of the Wings of Honor Museum Board. “There may be only 10 airworthy Boeing B-17s left in existence, so it’s quite a thrill for us to have an award-winning example visit Walnut Ridge.”
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.
“This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and I encourage everyone to come out and see this award-winning, historic aircraft,” said Dave Callanan, B-17 public affairs executive. “Touring the plane or even better, flying on it, will give you a deep appreciation of what our World War II airmen did for us. It is an unforgettable experience.”
The B-17 Yankee Lady is expected to arrive at the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport at 11 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 19.
The plane will be parked on the ramp, near the Wings of Honor Museum and will stay through the day, offering tours and Air Adventure rides until 6 p.m.
Callanan said self-guided ground tours cost $8 for adults aged 15 and above; $3 for kids aged 6 to 15 and all others are free.
Air adventure rides on the B-17 are available at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on both Monday and Tuesday. An Air adventure ride is a 30-minute experience and costs $475. To order a B-17 Air adventure visit www.yankeeairmuseum.org and click on “Fly With Us.”
“It is impossible to keep planes like the Yankee Lady B-17 operating without community support at home and everywhere we fly,” said Callanan. “We appreciate the support of the Wings of Honor Museum and the Walnut Ridge community for helping make this mission possible.”