Have you ever toured a WWII B-17? Climbed the ladder up through the front hatch near the nose? (No, that ladder wasn’t original standard equipment). Looked to your left into the nose where the bombardier and navigator sat? Crawled up through the cockpit and top turret area? Crossed the catwalk over the bomb bays? Walked through the radio room, circled the ball turret, and strode past the waist guns to peer back into the tail before exiting through the waist door down a shorter ladder? (No, not original standard equipment either).
How about going for a flight in one? There are a few touring B-17’s in the United States that travel to from city to city offering both walk-through tours and flights. I have walked through both the Nine O Nine and the Aluminum Overcast. I have flown in the Nine O Nine. Though the flight was only a half hour long, it was probably the most exciting half hour of my life. I can’t seem to get enough of the B-17 and anytime one is in the vicinity of central Florida, I’ll go to see it. And I think that even though the flights in one are very expensive, I think I’ll have to do that again one day, too.
The Collings Foundation
Update November 13, 2022: The Collings Foundation Wings of Freedom tour is currently on hold.
Update January 4, 2020: The Collings Foundation returns to touring on January 17, 2020, starting in Deland, Florida. Their web site lists several Florida tour stops in January and February, with other locations listed starting in July. Check their web site’s schedule for additional stops later in the year. The Wings of Freedom tour will continue without the B-17, Nine O Nine, which suffered a total loss along with the loss of the pilot, co-pilot, and five passengers in the October 2, 2019 crash.
Update October 2, 2019: Sadly, the Collings Foundation’s B-17 Nine O Nine crashed this morning at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut around 10 a.m.
You can check the Collings Foundation’s touring schedule here.
The Collings Foundation show tours include a Consolidated B-24J Liberator, Witchcraft, a B-25, and a TF-51D (P51) Mustang. If you are considering a flight experience, check here for more information and pricing.
Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)
The EAA’s B-17 is the Aluminum Overcast. You can check the EAA’s touring schedule and pricing here.
If you are considering a flight experience, check here for more information.
In addition to the B-17 Aluminum Overcast, the EAA also tours with a Ford Tri-Motor, the Tin Goose, however it has a different schedule of tour stops. To view the Tri-Motor tour stops, check here.
The Liberty Foundation
The Liberty Foundation has a new website which notes an update that the Liberty Belle B-17 “will again take to the air in the future.” Please check back for updates.
I’m not sure what happened to the Liberty Foundation’s B-17, Ye Olde Pub (previously Madras Maiden).
Commemorative Air Force, Gulf Coast Wing (GCWCAF)
The GCWCAF’s B-17 was Texas Raiders. Per a notice on the Commemorative Air Force website,
On Saturday, November 12, 2022, two aircraft were involved in a mid-air collision at Dallas Executive Airport. The aircraft were the B-17 Flying Fortress Texas Raiders and a P-63 Kingcobra, both out of the Houston area. Currently we do not have information on the status of the flight crews as emergency responders are working the accident. The Commemorative Air Force is working with local authorities, the FAA, and the NTSB will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident. Any available information will be posted here. Our thoughts and prayers are with those involved in the accident and their families.
Commemorative Air Force, Airbase Arizona
The Arizona Commemorative Air Force’s B-17 is Sentimental Journey. You can check their touring schedule here.
If you are considering a flight experience, more information and pricing are included on the same web page.
Yankee Air Museum
The Yankee Air Museum’s B-17 is Yankee Lady. The Yankee Lady’s touring schedule, pricing, and more information is posted here. (Keep scrolling down the page for flight experience information).
In addition to the B-17 Flying Fortress Yankee Lady, the Yankee Air Museum show tours include a B-25, Rosie’s Reply, a C-47, Hairless Joe, a UH-1 Huey, Greyhound, and a Ford 4-AT-B Tri Motor (coming soon).
Other Surviving B-17s
There are more surviving B-17’s in the world, but I believe the ones on the above list are the only ones that schedule tour stops around the United States. Please contact me if you know of another one I should add to this list.
For a list of surviving B-17’s, including those that are air worthy and those that are not, please see Wikipedia’s list here. It includes other B-17’s that you can tour at their home museums in the United States that do not go on tour around the country.
Links last updated March 7, 2022.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017