Aboard a “Flying Fortress”: Celebrating the history of the WWII B-17

Aboard a “Flying Fortress”: Celebrating the history of the WWII B-17

Aluminum Overcast

The B-17 Aluminum Overcast static at Centennial Airport.

Do you remember the awe and excitement of stepping aboard an airplane for the first time? The roar of an engine, the suspense of taking-off and the view from the sky allures many people, but the opportunity to step back in time on an icon in American aviation, known as the “flying fortress” only increases the appeal. This weekend, Colorado families have a chance to experience a historical heavy bomber that helped turn the tide of World War II; the B-17.

During World War II, 12,732 B-17s were produced but only 13 of those famous bombers can still take to the air today. The memories on board these planes are still vivid for World War II veterans who flew across Europe on flight missions over 67 years ago. The families and loved ones who have been fortunate enough to hear the stories of heroism and pride that veterans have shared regarding their time spent on these majestic planes now have the unique chance to bring these distant experiences to life.

Lt. Jack Hook and his granddaughter, Jori Gregorio aboard the Aluminum Overcast.

“He’s told me some cool stories and being here makes it more real and tangible,” says Jori Gregorio, granddaughter of Lt. Jack Hook, who served as a bombardier on a B-17 during World War II. “I’m getting a chance to experience this with him.”

Hook’s position as bombardier took place in the nose of a B-17. He was one of a ten-man crew that operated a B-17 during missions that often lasted for more than eight hours.

The nose of the B-17 and position of bombardier.

“You don’t have to reliv…

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