B-17 Bomber flight gives Hoosier vets glimpse of the past

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.  - Area veterans were reunited with an old piece of military aircraft that fought during World War II. Two veterans of World War II and one from the Korean War rode 2,000 feet in the air Thursday afternoon on a B-17 bomber.

The ride took off and landed at the Indy South Greenwood Airport, thanks to the Experimental Aircraft Association, which provides flights and tours of the plane dubbed, “Aluminum Overcast.”

The veterans had the opportunity to go on the flight with some of their grown sons.

“I wanted to do this so he could kind of relive his youth a little bit,” said Steve Ennis, son of Jack Ennis, who fought during World War II. “I’m so excited for him to be able to get on this plane.”

Ennis might have had the most flight time while at war. Steve said his father would board sea planes used to transport troops from ship to ship.

Since his time overseas, Ivan Skaggs has had the chance to ride on other bombers, but never a B-17.

“That was one of the biggest bombers in the country, so that’s big for me,” said Skaggs, who joined the Navy at the age of 18.

The B-17 was a four-engine aircraft, created when most planes had only two.

Bill King has likely had the most time in the air. After the Korean War, he became a pilot. He said he remembered seeing one B-17 before at the Indianapolis International Airport.

In the war, King was stationed in Seoul, but wasn’t flying as he was making charts and maps.

The three war veterans and their sons spent about 15 minutes flying over Indianapolis, which included seeing sights like Lucas Oil Stadium.

“It was a treat,” said Jack Ennis. “Very, very encouraging to see people interested in it.”

The aircraft will eventually be housed in the EAA AirVenture Museum’s “Eagle Hangar” with other World War II aircraft and exhibits.

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