BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Dubbed the Flying Fortress, B-17's flew nearly 100 missions in World War II. You can find one named "Ye Olde Pub" at the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport this week. In fact, on Saturday September 28, you can actually ride in or, or in a P-51 Mustang. It's the Salute to Veterans Tour provided by the Liberty Foundation.
German pilot escorting Ye Olde Pub B-17 to English Channel
"The B-17 was the workhorse of the Second World War. It could take a lot of punishment and kept on flying. Even so, more than two-thirds of them never came back from the start of the war."
"Can't imagine being 19, 20 years old and getting into this airplane," said pilot Ray Fowler with the Liberty Foundation, "non-pressurized 40 below zero and watching your colleagues all around you getting shot down. If you make it back, knowing that you have to get up the next day and doing the same thing."
"Ye Olde Pub" flew countless missions, bombing German targets. But one time it nearly didn't make it home, but for the generosity of a German pilot.
"It is an unbelievable story of an airplane that was badly crippled, crew were shot up, actually couple of crew members were actually killed. A German fighter actually swooped in on a lone B-17 to finish off it off, and noticed how badly damaged the plane was, and chose to escort it out of enemy territory. It's an incredible story of compassion among two nations who were at war. And once it was safely out over the channel, they waved and flew away. They actually met 40 years later."
"I don't know, I think it's just nostalgia," said WWII veteran Lee Robertson. "Wanting to see what went on back then. it's unbelievable when you ask people even my son, he doesn't know what went on during World War Two and these planes when the first one was built in 1935, I think."
Don't miss your chance to see this piece of U.S. history, one of only a dozen B-17's still flying in the world, before its bomb bay doors close forever.
Ye Olde Pub will be available for you to see at the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport all this week. And you can even get a chance to ride in it or in a P-51 Mustang this Saturday. But you'll have to pay for those rides.
For more information you can visit the Liberty Foundation's website. Liberty Foundation