Long-awaited visit from B-17 coming Thursday

Historic Bomber Set To Touch Down

Experimental Aircraft Association/Courtesy

KINGMAN – A chance to touch history will make land in Kingman this weekend.

The B-17 World War II bomber “Aluminum Overcast” will make flights over Kingman and also be on display at the Kingman Airport Friday through Sunday.

Tim Gerlach, president of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 765, has been working with Kingman City Council and the Kingman Airport Authority since December to land this attraction. The plane, owned by the Oshkosh, Wisconsin-based Experimental Aircraft Association, is on a national tour that includes stops in Arizona.

Kingman and the former Kingman Air Field was once home to thousands of Army-Air Force service members training to be aerial gunners during World War II, giving the airfield a spot in U.S. history.

“This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” Gerlach said. “The whole purpose of the plane is to tie in the historical significance.”

The local EAA chapter will host local VIP’s for a media day flight Thursday.

Former B-17 pilot and Kingman resident Elmer Eckstrom, who is pushing the centenarian milestone at 92-years-old, may or may not make the flight. Gerlach said Eckstrom was a bit apprehensive about the journey

back into history.

“He’s excited to go,” Gerlach said. “He said he’ll know when he sees the plane.”

Gerlach said the airport terminal building will have displays of artifacts and articles, “so people can see the historical connection.”

The Kingman Airport Café will extend hours to 5 p.m. Visitors eat in the diner, sit on the patio or grab a bite and walk around. There will also be a barbecue with burgers and bratwursts for sale between noon and 4 p.m. all three days.

For EAA members, the flight cost is $435. Non-members pay $475 (includes a one-year membership).

Ground tours are $10 for individuals, age 8 and under free, $20 for families. Veterans and active military are free.

A brief ceremony honoring all military veterans and a special recognition for World War II veterans will be held at 9 a.m. Friday.

“We’re looking for a deeper respect for what our vets have done,” said Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council President Pat Farrell.

Organizations participating include the Kingman Young Marines as Color Guard, a local military vehicle collector club, Patriot Guard Riders, and the Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council.

World War II veterans planning to attend are asked to call Farrell at 928-716-3001 by Thursday.