Boeing B-17 on display at Hamilton’s CWHM
June 25, 2014, Hamilton, Ont. - One of the most important and well-known, World War II U.S. bombers, the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, will be on display for a limited time only from June 30 to July 6 at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (CWHM). This fully-restored and awe-inspiring B-17 is one of only a handful in the world that is still left in flying condition. The B-17 will arrive at approximately 1 pm on June 30 and will then be on display from 9 am to 5 pm until July 6.
Nicknamed "Sentimental Journey", this aircraft’s nose art features one of the most famous pinup pictures of World War II, Betty Grable, in her most tantalizing pose. Built too late to see service in the European War, the aircraft was assigned to the Pacific theatre for the war’s duration. Following the war, Sentimental Journey flew out of Clark Field in Manila as a photo-mapping plane, flying to all corners of the Pacific. The aircraft was later used for Operation Greenhouse,” an atmospheric nuclear weapon test series conducted by the United States during the spring of 1951. This test used unmanned, radio controlled B-17 drone aircraft to measure blast and thermal effects and to collect radioactive cloud samples. In 1957, having more than fulfilled its military obligations, the aircraft was sent to California, where it was deployed to help control thousands of forest fires across the country. Not bad for an aircraft that had originally been designed “at best” to survive “a few hundred missions.”
Sentimental Journey has been owned and operated since 1978 by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) in the United States, an organization similar to Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. CAF conducted a community contest to name the plane and immediately undertook the chores of cleaning, polishing and repainting in WW II markings and honing the ship into excellent mechanical condition.
But even the aircraft's restored flying condition wasn't good enough. Without four operational turrets, operational bomb bay doors, navigator and radio operator stations, Norden bomb sight and machine guns, Sentimental Journey was not considered an authentic Flying Fortress. Over the next seven years, CAF undertook a painstaking restoration of the B-17, working closely with Boeing
Aerospace and sourcing parts from across the U.S. to ensure that all original military systems were fully-operational.
Regular Museum rates will apply for visitors wishing to see the B-17 close-up. Tours inside the B-17 are also available for an additional $5.00 and all tour proceeds will be used by the CAF to help maintain Sentimental Journey in top flying condition. The general public are also able to purchase flights while the B-17 is in Hamilton.