Historic B-17 comes to San Diego

April 22, 2017 by  

A historic warplane, the ‘Madras Maiden’, a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber built by Boeing Aircraft during World War II, visited San Diego recently.

The visit brought back memories to veterans of the conflict, and gave younger people and military buffs a glimpse of history. The aircraft, which is on a national tour, made Gillespie Field in El Cajon its base of operations while in the area. People who went out to the airstrip could take a tour of plane, and those who wished to pay were given the opportunity to take a flight on the bomber.

Boeing produced 12,700 B-17s during the Second World War, but only 17 are flying today. The United States relied heavily on the Flying Fortresses, which are four-engine propeller-driven planes, for raids deep into Occupied Europe. Over a third of the bombers sent into combat were lost.

This particular airplane was built as the war was ending and never flew in combat, according to the Liberty Foundation, which began operating it in 2016. Today, the Madras Maiden tours the country, allowing people everywhere to see what it was like to fly in this legendary aircraft. Organizers point out that many people who clamber aboard are surprised at how functional—and uncomfortable—the bomber is.

Events like this can benefit if organizers work with brochure printers to create booklets that explain something about the aircraft and the era in which it flew.