The majority of all WWII B-17s were operated by the 8th Airforce in Europe, and participated in countless missions from bases in England deep into enemy territory. There were 12,732 B-17s produced between 1935 and 1945, of these, 4,735 were lost in combat.
Following WWII, the B-17 saw combat in three more wars, B-17s saw service in Korea, Israel used them in the war of 1948, and they were even used during Vietnam.
The B-17 flight experience takes 45 minutes with approximately half hour in flight. B-17 flights are $410 for Liberty Foundation members and $450 for non-members. Passengers can become a Liberty Foundation member for $40 and receive the member discount for family and friends.
While the cost to take a flight sounds expensive, it must be put into perspective when compared to the B-17’s operating cost. A Flying Fortress expense is more than $5,000 per flight hour. The Liberty Foundation spends more than $1.5 million annually to keep the B-17 airworthy and on tour.
The Liberty Foundation’s B-17 provides visitors the opportunity to take a step back in time and gain respect for the men and women who gave so much to protect freedom. At each stop, flight “missions” are available in the Madras Maiden which allows people to take flights in this historic aircraft.
During flight operations, there will be a designated, secure area for those who would like to watch the aircraft flights at no charge.
Flights are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every hour on the hour at Gillespie Field. Ground tours are from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. each day. For more information, call 918-340-0243, or visit www.libertyfoundation.org.