MOSCOW, Ocotber 23 (RIA Novosti) - Pilot John Bode takes a restored B-17 aircraft for a flight and remembers the days during the war when flying such an airplane was not as pleasant as it feels now.
He recalls the daytime bombing raids over Nazi Germany and occupied Europe back when he was in his early 20s. "Think about what was going through their heads," he told a group of passengers on the tarmac at Easton airport, a two-hour drive east of Washington, as cited by AFP.
Along with Bode, Herbert Meeker, another war-time pilot flew 30 missions over Germany as a B-17 navigator when he was only 20 years old.
“The missions were very long, about eight hours long. It was late 1944 and early 1945, so therefore it was very cold at 30,000 feet. That was the hardest part of the entire tour for me, trying to keep warm if and when my heated suit failed,” he stated to the AFP.
“I've flown over 1,600 hours in this airplane, and I've never seen anybody come off ... without a smile on their face,” pilot George Daubner told NDTV. “People love this plane. They love the sights, the sounds, the smells of the B-17, the vibrations - that's something very special.”
It costs around US$400 for a B-17 flight, but still there's enough interest for B-17 called the Aluminum Overcast to make about 350 flights a year over the country, according to AFP.
"More now than ever, it's expensive to operate these planes," said Hunter Chaney of the Collings Foundation, “but they really are living machines. The more they fly, the better they are," he told AFP.