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Yankee Lady plans Heritage Days mission

Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2013

“Yankee Lady,” the Yankee Air Museum’s (YAM) meticulously restored World War II B-17 is returning to Huntington Municipal Airport, Friday, June 21 through Sunday, June 23.  The Willow Run, Ypsilanti, Michigan based, four-engine heavy bomber will take part in Huntington Heritage Days opening on June 19. The Boeing B-17 was last at the airport in 2009.

“I am very excited the Yankee Lady is coming to Huntington Heritage Days,” enthused Steve Gray, airport manager. “We are extremely proud to host her. The majesty of this rare aircraft casts a patriotic spell over people of all ages. As aviators, this puts us over the top and helps us get people involved with their airport.”

Gray said he is mostly looking forward to the reaction kids will have to seeing and hearing the airplane. He explained that unlike planes of today, the technology of this aircraft is fully visible. To save weight, all of the inner workings like cables, pulleys, fuselage spars and ribs are exposed. Gray says the opportunities to teach young people about the price of freedom are endless when a Flying Fortress is the classroom.

“I hope the organizers will understand our departure from the ‘Steamin’ into Huntington’ theme of this year’s Huntington Heritage Days,” chuckled Gray. “We simply don’t get many locomotives at the airport. We’re thinking this massive bomber with 4800 horsepower is a good substitute.”

More than 12,700 of these stout aircraft were built between 1936 and 1945. Their strength became legendary as literally thousands returned to home bases so severely damaged by enemy fighters and anti-aircraft artillery they were barely able to fly. More than 5,000 were shot down over Europe during daylight strategic bombing raids in the historic air war. Yankee Lady is one of only nine B-17 Flying Fortresses still flying.