World War II bomber plane rides available this weekend in Hartfo - WFSB 3 Connecticut


World War II bomber plane rides available this weekend in Hartford

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Pilots took to the air in Hartford as they flow in a World War II bomber plane. (WFSB) Pilots took to the air in Hartford as they flow in a World War II bomber plane. (WFSB)

A World War II era plane can be seen and heard flying around Hartford’s Brainard Airport these next couple days.

Channel 3 got aboard the historic plane to get a birdseye view of the sky from the cockpit of a B-17 G Bomber.

There were only 12,731 B-17 G Bombers made in World War II. Right now, there are about 14 of them still flyable. One of them is at Brainard Airport in Hartford these next couple of days.

93-year-old Alfred Edwards drove himself to Brainard Airport today.

WWII Veteran, 93-year-old Alfred Edwards drove himself into Brainard Airport on Friday.

“I have nostalgia for the old B-17 because it was a heck of a good airplane,” Edwards, who was a B-17 G pilot, said. “It really was a kite to fly.”

The Experimental Aircraft Association does tours with this B-17 G nationwide to promote aviation to kids and let people see the history for themselves.

Edwards, originally from Natick, Mass. joined the service at 18-years-old in 1942.

“I had to sign up for something. If you didn’t sign up for something you would be drafted,” Edwards said. “And I didn’t want the infantry.”

Edwards said he chose the Army Air Core.

“I was a pilot,” Edwards said. “I was the first pilot and I had 31 missions but I was lucky because I was at the end of the war.”

On Friday, Edwards brought a scrapbook held together with nails full of newspaper clippings and photos of the missions he went on and would send back home to his family during the war to let them know he was OK.  

“My first mission was to Berlin,” Edwards said as he was showing a picture of his crew.

Edwards got his experience in the air along with his crew.

“I never flew one that wasn’t full of holes and patched,” Edwards said.

During a bombing raid, 30 percent of the B-17’s that went out usually wouldn’t make it back. A pilot would have needed 35 missions to finish their service. But the war ended. When Edwards got back from the war he got married and had three kids and he has lived in Manchester for the last 35 years.

“The fact that they have saved a few it reminds you it’s a long way back there and I had a lot of experiences,” Edwards said.

Tours of the plane will continue Saturday and Sunday $10 per person and deals for families and veterans. Flights are being booked for more than $430.  

 “This particular airplane was found in a field in Dotham, Alabama,” Rex Gray, who is with the EAA and B-17 G pilot, said. “It was surplused at the end of the war in 1945.”

The plane was sold for $750 after the war, was restored in the 70’s, donated to the EAA and put on tour.

“The most gratifying part of the job is meeting the guys that were 19,20,22 and hearing their stories,” Gray said.

Anthony Giovanetti flew in B-24’s as a gunner and helped map out invasions as reconnaissance in Japan.  He flew with his son in the B-17 on Friday.

“What’s it like taking a ride in this one. Well it was quite a thrill really,” Giovanetti said. “I got a nice seat right behind the pilot.

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