Iconic WWII B-17 Flying Fortress “Sentimental Journey” coming to La Porte airport

The La Porte Municipal Airport is helping bring a bit of history to the area next week as it welcomes the iconic World War II aircraft B-17 Flying Fortress Sentimental Journey, courtesy of the Commemorative Air Force’s Airbase Arizona.

The fully-restored B-17 bomber will arrive at the airport, located at 2341 Ind. 39, and will be open to the pubic for ground tours from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 10; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, Aug. 11-13; and 2 to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Aug. 14-16.

The public can also experience a living history flight in the aircraft on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Those interested in scheduling a ride may book online at www.azcaf.org/tour or call 480-462-2992.

“The B-17 Flying Fortress Sentimental Journey is one of only five currently flying in the world out of over 12,000 manufactured for combat during WWII – and is the leading exhibition warbird in The Flying Legends of Victory Tour conducted by CAF Airbase Arizona, a non-profit flying museum,” exhibition officials said. “The Boeing B-17 was most famous for operations in Europe but was used in every theater of war from 1941-45. B-17 cruise speed was about 160 miles per hour; maximum altitude was 36,000 ft. At high bombing altitudes in unheated aircraft, extreme temperatures subjected many crew members to frostbite.”

Sentimental Journey was originally manufactured and delivered to the U.S. Army Air Forces for war service in 1944 – too late for European service but flew missions in the Pacific Theater. After the war, she flew for training, testing ,and air-sea rescue missions and was eventually sold for surplus and used as a fire bomber. In 1978 the aircraft was purchased by a Commemorative Air Force (CAF) member and donated to the newly formed Arizona unit of the world-famous CAF. She was meticulously restored and is today maintained in tip-top condition and operated by all-volunteer crews from the membership of CAF Airbase Arizona

CAF Airbase Arizona is one of over 80 worldwide units of the CAF, which is headquartered in Dallas, Tex. The CAF is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation whose mission is defined by three values:

  1. Educate younger generations about the history through our museum and fully operational vintage military aircraft;
  2. Inspire others to participate in preservation of military aviation heritage; and
  3. Honor all veterans for their sacrifice towards securing the freedoms we all enjoy today.

4 Responses to “Iconic WWII B-17 Flying Fortress “Sentimental Journey” coming to La Porte airport”

  1. lawman

    Aug 06. 2020

    saw this plane when it was here 20 odd yrs ago. had engine trouble and landed here for repairs i believe. had tours. you think it is huge until you get close and think of 10 men being in there for 10 hrs .a worthwhile family trip.

    Reply to this comment
    • Grateful

      Aug 06. 2020

      To add to the previous comment… it was -50F at altitude, the crews wore heated suits, and cabins were not pressurized. They were also on oxygen during their missions. My father was a flight engineer/ top turret gunner (the two positions were assigned together), on his plane. They landed in the UK on D-day, and were slated to fly 35 missions. But, they were sent home after their 33rd mission, when their waist gunner was killed over Berlin in October of 1944.
      The 17s were crucial to knocking out Hitler’s war machine; targeting factories that supplied their war effort. German flak guns, were set up in France, and began shooting shells set to explode at altitude as the B-17s crossed the English Channel into France.
      They were flying in formation and just had to go through ut, sitying ducks.
      These planes are very important in the history of WWII.
      They truly have tight quarters inside, and reinforce, to me, the bravery and dedication of all who fought for our freedom during that time – both on the ground and in the air. Each crew had to work together. as a team. If you can, go see this iconic plane.

      Reply to this comment
      • Diane Schwarz

        Aug 10. 2020

        This chokes me up to read. What those soldiers endured and fought for, the sacrifices they made, we really can’t imagine. This plane truly is a “must see” for a bit of history. BTW – Saturday will be the 75th anniversary of VJ Day. The crew will be flying a special tribute flight over nursing homes, retirement homes, etc. The flight path and times will be announced later this week.

        Reply to this comment
  2. Dan

    Aug 06. 2020

    Part of the equipment that helped save the world

    Reply to this comment

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