'Flying Fortress' soars over Essex County on special mission with local veterans

One of only a handful of B-17 heavy bombers still flying took to the air on Thursday for a special trip with some true VIPs.

One of only a handful of B-17 heavy bombers still flying took to the air on Thursday for a special trip with some true VIPs.

One of only a handful of B-17 heavy bombers still flying took to the air on Thursday for a special trip with some true VIPs. (10/11/13)

FAIRFIELD - One of only a handful of B-17 heavy bombers still flying took to the air on Thursday for a special trip with some true VIPs.

There were once more than 12,000 B-17 heavy bombers, the plane symbolic of the air war in Europe during World War II.

"Aluminum Overcast," one of the the classic warbirds, called "Flying Fortresses" by those who flew them, took to the skies over Essex County with two veteran B-17 crewmen aboard.

"You get a funny feeling in your stomach, in the pit of your stomach," says B-17 radio operator George Prezioso. "It's a happy feeling and it's a scary feeling."

The B-17 carried a crew of 10, flying at altitudes of more than 30,000 feet. The crew members were required to participate in 25 missions before earning a ticket home.

"The missions lasted 8, 9, 10 hours, at 30 degrees below zero,” says World War II historian Al Parisi. "You're not only fighting the enemy but the elements. They were 19, 20 year-old kids and what they were called on to do was just mind-boggling."

"You'd come back with half a tail, half a wing. You'd still come back," says B-17 navigator Bernard Gottheim. "It's a good plane, it's a beautiful plane. Boeing did a terrific job."

This B-17 is at Essex County Airport in Fairfield all weekend and heading to Mercer County on Tuesday and Wednesday.

More on this topic

EAA B-17 Tours

Website

Reservations : 1-800-359-6217

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

VIDEO: News conference on Chatham helicopter crash 1 VIDEO: News conference on Chatham helicopter crash
A small helicopter made a hard landing in 2 Helicopter wrecked after hard landing in Chatham
3 New Jersey Sportscast, Feb. 24
VIDEO: Interview with mother of transgender girl 4 VIDEO: Interview with mother of transgender girl
Shirley Annita Chisholm was the African-American Congresswoman from 5 Black History Month: Shirley Anita Chisholm

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

It's good to know you have Walt Kane Kane in Your Corner

It's good to know you have Walt Kane in your corner.

News 12 takes a look at the hottest Tech Check

Eric Landskroner has a look at the latest gadgets and biggest stories in tech.

News 12 On the Scene

Check out these exclusive videos from New Jersey celebs!

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE