Children Assuming Father's Efforts To Bring B-17 Back To
Jerry Shiffer's intent to help restore a B-17G bomber didn't
perish when the man lost his life in a Montana plane crash last
November. His family will make sure of that.
The late Shiffer's children -- sons Eric (shown below) and Dave,
and daughter Andrea -- are taking up the effort to restore S/N
44-85813, with the hope of creating a museum outside Urbana, OH to
both honor the aircraft, as well as attract tourists to the small
city northeast of Dayton.
Their father was part of the original effort to bring the
airframe to Grimes Field (I74), an airport Jerry Shiffer reportedly
had helped Urbana officials improve over the years.
The first parts of the vintage aircraft arrived at Grimes Field
the same day Jerry Shiffer lost his life -- November 29, 2005. The NTSB Preliminary Report on the
accident states Shiffer's Cessna Conquest turboprop
impacted terrain 2.8 nautical miles northeast of Gallatin Field
Airport (BZN) outside Bozeman, MT.
Jerry Shiffer became part of the project when Grimes Field
assistant manager Carol Hall put Tom Reilly, a pilot who
specializes in restoring old aircraft, called the airport looking
for someone who might be interested in helping restore the Flying
"This is something Dad wanted, and Dave and Eric and I want to
see it completed," said Shiffer's daughter, Andrea Tullis, to the
Tullis added her brothers don't just want to restore the plane
their father had wanted to bring back to life. They want to fly it,
In fact, restoring the aircraft means so much to the Shiffer
children that, when the plane outgrows its current home as the
restoration progresses, the family plans to build a new hangar
for the aircraft.
Besides Shiffer's family, the project has attracted volunteers
from Cleveland, Chicago and as far away as Florida. Some are
pilots... while others are just regular people who have a
connection to B-17s.
Those volunteers expect the project to take as long as seven
years to complete -- but Reilly is confident that once the B-17
flies again, it will all be worth it... especially for the
"The payday will be the day it first flies," he said. "And you
better have a lot of Kleenex tissues around."