World War II vet taken for a ride: Flying Fortress style
September 1, 2013, The Herald, Richard Martin. a good friend of WWII vet Bill Gossett, is a member of the Experimental Aviation Association, the "owner" of one of 12 still airworthy B-17s in the world. As such, Richard had advance info that the plane would be in Springfield this past week. The B-17s tour the country, giving rides for a price as fund raisers to keep these birds flying. For Bill’s upcoming 90th birthday, Richard arranged a flight in the fortress for Bill.
Fortunately, there are many aviation buffs, who give untold hours to keep the old WWII war birds, of many different nomenclatures flying or just restoring them to have on display in air museums around the country.
The Flying Fortresses are expensive to fly as well as expensive to maintain, The EAA is dedicated to keeping a significant part of our air history alive.
Gossett wrote to the Herald, “As I sat there, while the pilot was revving up and checking those powerful Pratt & Whitney's, I thought about our country in that era. Airplanes, tanks, munitions of every possible kind rolling off of assembly lines the country over. Young farmers, lawyers, accountants, clerks, college kids from campus' all over the country, learning to fly. I thought of those "kids" sitting in those planes waiting to take off, without a clue as to whether they would return.
Many, who labor to keep this part of history alive, were born well after that time. Some people collect beer cans or cigar bands; some do something that is really worthwhile and makes a contribution. Bottom line on my flight; Richard gave me a wonderful early gift for my approaching 90th. Per custom, we plan to play golf on my 90th! Webster cannot define appreciation adequately. ”