Owned and operated by the Experimental Aircraft Association, the plane known as “The Flying Fortress” will be available for both tours and flights Wednesday, Sept. 26, through Sunday as part of its 2012 “Salute to Veterans” national tour.
The public is invited to see the World War II-era plane up close while it is on the ground from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday or go on a flight “mission” at scheduled times during the day from Wednesday through Sunday.
Flights are scheduled daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and are $449 per person if reservations are made prior to Wednesday and $475 per person afterward.
Ground tours are $10 per person or $20 per family with children 8 and younger as well as veterans and active military members free.
Tickets and reservations are available by visiting www.b17.org or calling 1-800-359-6217. Beginning Thursday, those interested in making flight reservations are asked to call 920-371-2244.
“The national tour EAA undertakes each year has become the nation’s most popular way to learn about this unique aircraft in an up-close way,” said EAA president Rod Hightower.
“EAA is dedicated to preserving the spirit of aviation through these B-17 tours. We take great pride in saluting all our nation’s veterans as the airplane travels the country, showcasing a living link to history for all generations to enjoy.”
Flight “missions” give people the experience of a 20-minute flight that gives passengers the ability to move freely about the plane and visit most of the stations that were manned during a combat mission. This includes the radio room, gunner station and others.
Once back on the ground, passengers will get a better look at the rest of the plane and will be able to talk to the on-site crew and pilots who will offer their expertise on the history and mechanics of the 67-year-old aircraft.
The plane, named “Aluminum Overcast,” was built in 1945 but was delivered to the Army Air Corps too late to see active service in World War II. The B-17 was donated to the EAA Aviation Foundation in 1981 with the provision that the aircraft be maintained in airworthy condition.
It arrives in Rome in conjunction with the Wings Over North Georgia Air Show, which takes place at the airport Friday through Sunday.
Gates open at 2 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Advance general admission tickets start at $13 for adults and $10 for kids ages 11-17. Admission is free for children 10 and younger and seniors older than 65.
Two of the featured performances will be from the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the Black Diamond Jet Team.
Included with general admission on Friday is the Commemorative Air Force’s “Red, White and Loud” tour concert featuring country music recording artist Aaron Tippin and the twilight air show that evening.