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Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress "Aluminum Overcast" 
An aircraft of extreme durability and adaptability, the B-17 "Flying Fortress" made its mark in history as one of the most famous heavy bombers of World War II.
On August 16, 1934, the Boeing Company of Seattle began construction of a four-engine bomber, hoping to win a design competition for the U.S. Army Air Corps.  Financed by the company itself, Boeing model 299 first took flight on July 28, 1935.  Because of its success, the government ordered 13 additional airplanes, now redesignated the YB-17.  Delivery to the Army Air Corps took place on January 17, 1937.
In keeping with advances in aviation technology, many modifications were made to the B-17 during its production run.  Dubbed the "Flying Fortress" by a Seattle newspaper because of its defensive firepower, the airplane was given increased horsepower (from 1,000 to 1,200 h.p. per engine) which allowed it to operate at faster speeds.  Other notable improvements included the addition of heavier armament (eventually the airplane featured 13 .50-caliber machine guns, including a remote chin turret on B-17G models to fend off head-on attacks); larger self-sealing fuel tanks; and a radically altered rear section which provided greater stability at high altitudes and made room for a tail gun position.
A total of 12,731 B-17 "Flying Fortresses" were manufactured by Boeing and other companies.  Most were delivered for service with the 7th and 8th Air Forces and others in every theater of World War II.
During the War, 4,735 B-17s were lost during combat missions.  After the War, some B-17s were sold on the surplus market, but most fell victim to the scrapper's torch.  Today, only a few B-17s remain and even fewer are still in airworthy condition.

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History of the "Aluminum Overcast"

This airplane - B-17G-VE, serial number 44-85740 was delivered to the U.S. Army Air Corps on May 18, 1945.  Although delivered too late to see action in World War II, the airplane has an interesting history.
Stripped of military hardware and declared surplus in November 1945, it was purchased by its first civilian owner on June 17, 1946.  Pat Brandenberg of Metal Products in Amarillo, Texas, paid $750 for the airplane.  At today's prices, $750 doesn't even come close to paying for the fuel needed to fill the airplane's tanks!
On August 2, 1947, the airplane was sold to Charles Winter of Miami, Fla., who in turn sold it to Joe A. Lopez Jr., of Melbourne, Fla. on August 16, 1947.  Lopez intended to use the B-17 to haul cargo in the Caribbean.  In preparation for that duty, the airplane's original floor and radio compartment were removed and replaced.
By 1949, Aero Service Corporation of Philadelphia had purchased the airplane and converted it for use as a high-altitude camera platform and survey aircraft.  During the next 12 years, the airplane performed mapping operations over Arabia, Libya, Lebanon, Iran, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Egypt and Jordan, logging more than 1 million miles on the airframe!
In 1962, Chris Stolzfus and Associates of Coatsville, Pa. purchased the airplane and outfitted it as an aerial sprayer.  It was inactive for the next several years, however, before being sold to Dothan Aviation, Inc. of Dothan, Ala. in 1965.  The airplane was then utilized in a variety of roles including pest control, forest dusting and fire fighting throughout the southeastern U.S.
When Dothan Aviation went out of business in 1978, Dr. Bell Harrison purchased the airplane.  Dr. Harrison and several others formed the corporation "B-17's Around The World."  Their intent was to restore and maintain the B-17, now known as "Aluminum Overcast," as a flying display of aviation heritage.  Due to the overwhelming financial responsibility of the undertaking, the Corporation donated the airplane to the EAA Aviation Foundation in 1981, with the provision that restoration be continued as time and money permitted.  Since then, the airplane - which remains in airworthy condition - has appeared at numerous air shows and aviation events all over the country.  Money raised from tours and air show appearances is used to offset operating and restoration costs.
Currently, the airplane is painted in the colors of the 398th Bomb Group, commemorating B-17G #42-102516, which was shot down on its 34th combat mission over Le Manior, France, on August 13, 1944.  The 398th Bomb Group donated the funds to have the airplane painted.
- Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)

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