Was Damaged In 2004 Landing Mishap
The Experimental Aircraft Association has given Aero-News some
happy news: Tuesday, March 7, the long and meticulous repair
project for EAA's B-17 Aluminum Overcast officially ended when her
wheels left Runway 18 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh for a
50-minute test flight.
The flight crew consisted of EAA Director of Flight Operations
Sean Elliott; B-17 Tour Assistant Director George Daubner; Bob
Davis, check airman, and mechanic Vince Hammons.
"The airplane ran just great!" Elliott said. "All four engines
were smooth and powerful, it was euphoric to see the aircraft leave
the ground again."
Davis added, "It really brought back a lot of memories, that's
for sure. She flew square and honest. I've never seen the airplane
look so good."
As Aero-News reported, the
Flying Fortress was heavily damaged May 5, 2004 when its main gear
collapsed during a landing roll at Southern California's Van Nuys
Airport (below). The wounded bird was eventually ferried back to
Oshkosh that September, and the arduous repair process immediately
got under way.
Last week, almost 19 months and many thousands of hours later,
the FAA signed off on the repairs to pave the way for Tuesday's
EAA mechanics are relieved to have finished the job.
"We're very glad it's finally done. It's been a tough, long
road," said John Hopkins, Aircraft Maintenance Manager. "It's
really rewarding to see the aircraft up in the air again. Our crew
has been great, sticking to the task, and getting all the work done
on time, as well as keeping up with our other duties. It's the most
dedicated and difficult repair effort we've ever had.
"Today it looks like it
was never damaged," Hopkins added.
The EAA says another test flight is expected Friday, then flight
training for the 2006 "Keep It Flying B-17 Tour" is set to begin
next week. The tour launches on March 31 at San Diego's Gillespie
Field Airport .