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May 14, 2010 > Soar into the azure sky

Soar into the azure sky

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Bill Mancebo

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) recently paid tribute to Veterans by hosting historic flight experiences in its restored B-17G Flying Fortress nicknamed "Aluminum Overcast." This American heavy bomber helped turn the tide in World War II. Flying in the B-17 is a mission in time, more than just an adventure; it is an experience, an appreciation for those brave men who risked their lives to protect the free world over sixty years ago.

Four Curtiss Wright 1820-97 9-cylinder radial engines power the B-17. During the flight, aviation enthusiasts can walk through the Bomb Bay area, check out the nose section and enter the cockpit. This plane is utilitarian so noise is a constant companion but the unique thrill of flying in an authentic World War II flying machine is worth it. A crew chief is available to answer questions and sign your logbook as a memento of the flight experience.

Soaring above over the mountaintops for a bird's eye view of the Bay Area is an unforgettable experience; it's available to young aviation enthusiasts (ages 8 - 17) through the EAA Young Eagles program. Launched in 1992, flights are offered free of charge through the generosity of EAA member volunteers. Most Young Eagle flights last between 15 and 20 minutes.

To participate complete the registration form at and click young eagles. Parents are requested to bring along the completed form; it should not be mailed. Participants should call to reserve seats in advance.

Young Eagle Rallies are always subject to weather and pilot availability. Call before arriving. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. followed by a mandatory briefing at 10 a.m. sharp.

Young Eagle events for 2010
Saturdays, May 29, June 26, September 25, October 23, December 4
9:30 a.m.
Hayward Airport
22005 Skywest Dr., Hayward
(510) 792-1968
(510) 703-1466

A Place in History

B-17 Aluminum Overcast is an important part of U.S. history. It was used by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) in the daylight precision strategic bombing campaign of World War II against German military targets. The aircraft takes aviation enthusiasts back to the era in which it was developed and reminds of the sacrifices made by our Veterans that made today's freedom a reality.

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