The B-17 bomber nicknamed "Madras Maiden" offers flights to the public from Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport. It is a reminder of the commitments, sacrifices, and heroism of the World War II men who flew it and other warplanes like it.
The Liberty Foundation owns the plane and flies it from city to city, offering rides to the public to help keep the plane flying. The bomber, built in 1944, is one of only 12 B-17s still able to fly. The mission of the foundation is to keep the stories of the bomber, and other warplanes like it, alive. It also aims to keep alive the stories of the soldiers who manned the planes as pilots, navigators, bombardiers, radio operators, gunners, and mechanics.
"We want the public to know just what they went through and the experiences that they had and the sacrifices that they made," said Dave Lyon, pilot of the B-17.
Lyon's has an interesting story himself. He retired from flying jetliners for Delta Airlines, and now he handles the controls of the B-17.
Flights are open to the public from the Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $450 per person. The money is used to keep the plane flying so that stories of World War II can continue to be told with this piece of war machinery. For more information, or to schedule a flight, call 918-340-0243.