PEORIA, Ill.–Experimental Aircraft Association has come to Peoria, and is giving people the ability to travel back in time.
Friday and Saturday, members of the public and veterans can come ride in a B17 World War Two Bomber like this one right here and take about a 25 minute flight all around Peoria.
“Just come and see it and listen to it start and taxi out and watch all the blue smoke and rock and rolling and the noise it makes and the living history of the aircraft and what it did. It was the generation that saved the world in World War Two out of England, the 8th Air Force, it was the main one,” said Line Pilot Shawn Knickerbocker.
During the flight people can see different areas of the plane including looking out of the windows at the nose of the plane. Knickerbocker says even though the view is incredible, the most special part is reminiscing about what the airmen went through in World War Two.
“You get to experience what these kids, and they were kids, during World War Two actually did. And that you have the responsibility of an airplane that there’s only 14 left in the U.S,” Knickerbocker said.
Before the flight took off, Tim Bourgoine was hard at work making sure the plane was ready to go. He says veterans truly love seeing their history and reliving their days in World War Two, and the flight can be extremely touching for family members as well.
“Sometimes we get family members who might have lost loved ones who were a crew member. And they’ll come out and fly on the airplane, and more than once I’ve seen passengers standing there holding a picture of their father with tears in their eyes, and it’s very touching,” Bourgoine said.
Bourgoine says that remembering these veterans and the ones who lost their lives in the war is arguably one of the most important purposes of this flight.
“As the veterans from WWII get older and the number gets smaller and smaller, the reality of that history is going away and alot of people don’t realize what all it took to come out of that war successfully,” Bourgoine said.
The flights begin at 10 a.m. on Friday morning flying out of Byerley Aviation, which is connected to the Peoria International Airport.
And at about 1,500 feet in the air you can sit in the bombardier chair and look out of the windows at the countryside, and see all of downtown Peoria.
Here are the prices for members of the public and veterans:
Ground Tour 2-5 p.m.
$10: Individual Rate
$20: Family Rate: (adults/children up to 17)
Free: Children under 8 (with paying adult)
Free: Veterans / Active Military
$409: EAA Members
$435: EAA Members