As the vintage B-17 Flying Fortress landed on the runway as many people including Veterans, aviation enthusiast, and media waited patiently on the tarmac to see up close and personal a piece of history. This scene plays out over again all across the United States as the Texas Raiders B-17 tours the country giving people a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Last summer in Austin Texas Ed Olson waited patiently on the tarmac for his opportunity. What makes this day special is that Olson is 96 years old and a former B-17 instructor and WWII aerial combat veteran and this was going to be his first time to fly on a B-17 in over 70 years. Thanks to the B-17 Texas Raiders, a non-profit attached to the Commemorative Air Force, Olson was given an opportunity to go up in the sky again.
Olson was born on a farm 30 miles North of Austin in the town of Hutto. Olson earned his wings and was a 1st LT with the Air Corps in 1944 and shortly after he was sent to England where he would fly out of. During that time Olson flew ten missions and was called back stateside to transition into the B-29. Olson got out of the Corp in 1946.
As the B-17 taxied up to the ramp, Olson’s eyes were fixated on the beautiful airplane. Olson’s time had come to board the plane, and with a little help he worked his way into the plane. During the flight you could see the emotion on Olson’s face as all types of memories were brought back by the sights, sounds, and smells of this amazing aircraft.
After his fight was over Olson’s said, “this flight brings back lots of memories.”
Pat Elliott is a retired 777 pilot who took Olson for a quick trip. He says each year there are fewer flights with combat veterans on board. Elliott and the rest of the crew volunteer their time taking the planes from show to show hoping to educate people about their history and the wars they helped win.
“I like flying and I like old WWII planes plus it is a sense of patriotism,” said Elliott.
All the donations and money received goes to keep the planes flying. The B-17 Elliott flies is one of only eleven in the world that are still operational.
To experience a flight on a Vintage B-17 Flying Fortress, reserve your seat on a Texas Raiders flight today by contacting them by email: B17Rides@gulfcoastwing.org or phone: 1-855-FLY-A-B17 (1-855-359-2217)
The flights cost: $475.00 per person for seats in the radio room and back, $700.00 per person for the Navigator’s Seat, or $750.00 per person for the Bombardier’s Seat. The flight can accommodate eight (8) passengers along with a flight crew of four (4) Duration of Flight Experience is from 30-35 minutes. Payments are processed prior to the flight departure and all major credit cards, cash, or checks are accepted.
Your payment is tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law