11 September 2010

Not Motorcycles: Aluminum Overcast

Aluminum Overcast is one of fewer than 15 Boeing Aircraft Co. B-17 "Flying Fortress" heavy bombers currently flying.  Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Corps 18 May 1945--too late to see any action in World War II--the plane is now owned and operated by the Experimental Aircraft Assoc. (EAA) and demonstrated around the U.S.  This weekend it's based at Leesburg Executive Airport, in Leesburg, Virginia, so I went to check it out this morning.

First, the tanks must be topped up . . .

. . . and the windshield cleaned . . .

. . . before the four 9-cylinder 1,200hp Wright Cyclone radials can be fired up.

Then it was time roll out . . .

. . . and taxi to the north end of the runway.

Tail up . . .

. . . and the Fortress is flying.

Aluminum Overcast over Leesburg

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In the afternoon I returned for a closer look.

Aluminum Overcast travels with two pilots, a flight engineer, and mechanics.  A lot of the required maintenance and many repairs are addressed in the field.  The plane is based and winters in Osh Kosh, Wisconsin, home of the EAA.

Learn more:  B17.org