Imagine being a young man of 20, a First Lieutenant serving as the bombardier aboard a B-17 flying out of its base on the outskirts of London. Your first bombing Raid over Germany, not sure what to expect. Maybe a bit nervous, but not scared, not yet. During the 8 hour mission, you cross into Germany, you see some flak, but it is miles away. As bombardier you sit in the plexiglas nose of a B-17, everything is neatly laid out in front of you. It looks like a movie from there
It was time to make your bombing run over the target, you were able to get your bombs away, from reports from other B-17’s you did a good job. The importance of the Norden bomb sight is not lost as you and the crew make your way back to base.
But on your way home, 3 Focke-Wulfs appear around you. The B-17 flying right next to you is hit and it simply drops out of the sky. It is now very real, but you are still not scared, then you hear over the radio, “we’ve been hit, Sir.” One of the waist gunners was hit, you go back to his aide, you grab the machine gun and fire. You think you have done some good. You make your way back to the nose, the bomber had lost its place in the formation, but you were over France and headed home.
Once out of the aircraft, you step back and see the battle damage, now you feel afraid. but, you made it and you know you will be off again soon on another mission. You write home letting your family know that the B-17 was the best airplane ever built, ‘cause it brought you home. Sometimes just on a wing and a prayer, sometimes on two engines, sometimes two engines and a half of a wing, but you got home.
Today, the mission of our B-17 is very different. Today we fly in honor of our courages WWII Veterans. The B-17 is now used for education outreach. Crossing the nation bringing to life the sights and sounds of these airplanes and honoring the millions of men and women who served in the air, on the ground, and at home in America building thetools our servicemen took to battle.
Now you can fly on a mission and re-live history on one of the Liberty Foundations’ Flight
Experience Flights on Ye Olde Pub.
The B-17 Flight Experience Mission lets you take part in a flight on one of 12 remaining flyable B-17s produced in the world, in a scheduled location, around the county. During your flight in Ye Olde Pub you will experience the roar of its four big radial engines, the smell of fuel and oil, the sight of its 13 fifty caliber Browning replica machine guns while you take a position as part of the crew and experience a taste of what it may have been like in WWII. Sit in the bombardier seat, stand as waist gunner, monitor flight activity as a flight engineer would as you observe the pilots flying the mission. You can wander through the plane as you like. You will feel like you've warped back in time to 1944. Flight Experience Mission flight cost is $475 a person. There will be 9 seats available on each B-17 flight. These seats are reserved on a first-come first-serve basis.
What to Expect prior, during and after your B-17 Flight Experience on Ye Olde Pub
We ask that you arrive one hour prior to your scheduled flight time to get acquainted with the aircraft and crew. You will be asked to fill out the flight experience application form, if you have not already pre-booked or brought it with you. You will receive a memento “Boarding Pass” for your flight group coinciding with your mission flight time. During the time prior to your flight you can take this opportunity to look at the unique merchandise we carry in our PX. You can purchase items prior to or after your flight or order from our website.
Shortly before your flight, we will have your flight group get together for our B-17 safety briefing in a pre-determined staging area. Your flight group will be escorted to the aircraft by a crew member from Ye Olde Pub. Please follow their instructions. This crew member will assist you in getting to a seat prior to take off. All passengers must be seated with seat belts secured for engine start, taxi, and takeoff.
Once airborne, you are free to move about the airplane and visit the various crew positions (nose, cockpit, bomb bay, radio room and waist gunner stations, however you will not be allowed to visit the tail or ball turret). There is ample time during the flight that all passengers can experience the different positions. We do ask that each passenger take no longer than 5 minutes in the nose so everyone get to share in this unique view. You will be allowed to visit the cockpit during the flight to observe the flight crew. It is not possible for you to sit in the pilot seats or interfere with the flight crew during the flight. During the flight is a great opportunity for you to take photos, video, or even live stream.
Each flight experience lasts approximately 45 minutes, with half hour in-flight and 15 minutes in briefings.
Prior to landing a signal will be given for you to secure yourself for landing. All passengers must be seated with seat belts fastened for landing. Once back on the ground, the airplane and crew will be available to you for additional photos and to answer any questions you may have. You will be given a certificate of your Mission Flight that is suitable for framing.
Book your Flight Experience Mission Flight
Once the B-17 is on tour and approved to give exemption flights, you will be able to make a reservation online (Link to new application) or by calling our scheduling line. Once your flight is booked you will receive a confirmation letter from out Tour Coordintor. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call or email so we can make your flight experience the best it can be.
The B-17 cost is $475 per person, but you can join the Liberty Foundation’s B-17 Historical Society and receive a discount on this flight. This saves greatly on addition passengers who are joining you or your flight or at other locations. It is not mandatory to be a Liberty Foundation member to ride in the airplane. The annual membership in the Foundations B-17 Historical Society is just $40 for individuals, $75 for families, and $300 for an individual lifetime membership.
Our Flight Experience Mission locations, dates and times are subject to change due to many factors, some which are out of our control. Flights may be cancelled due to, but not limited to, weather or maintenance. All cancelled flights, resulting from any reason, will be re-scheduled at a later time and or date.
It is possible to book the entire flight of 9 seats and we offer a discount given to those folks who book an entire flight – 9 seats for the price of 8. By joining the Liberty Foundation’s B17 Historical Society you will receive further discounts.
The B-17 although not designed for passenger operations, has successfully flown people with limited mobility. A couple of steps are required to enter the airplane and the B-17 staff onsite will offer assistance to anyone who may require help.