New Insurance Requirements Leave Sally B Firmly On The
Enthusiasts who grounded their World War II B-17 bomber due to
spiralling insurance costs have launched a campaign to raise funds
to get the aircraft back in the air for this year's Victory in
Europe (VE) Day celebrations.
The owners of Sally B, the last airworthy Flying
Fortress in Europe, were forced to cancel 60th anniversary VE Day
weekend appearances at the Imperial War Museum's Victory in Europe
Air Show and a flypast in Southampton, southern England.
Instead, the dark green US-built bomber was left in its hangar
at Duxford, near Cambridge in the east of England, because of
"crippling" European Union third-party liability insurance rules,
based on aircraft weight, which have placed it in the same
insurance category as a commercial airliner.
The effect of the new rules is an increase in liability
insurance of almost 500 percent, which is the equivalent of 1,000
pounds (1,475 euros, $1,890) in extra hourly flying costs, its
Sally B -- identical to thousands of B-17s that flew dangerous
daylight raids over Germany for the US Army Air Corps -- usually
operates for only 20 hours a year. It carries no passengers and
steers clear of built-up areas.
"In this anniversary of the end of World War Two, Europe has
managed to ground the last B-17 in the United Kingdom," said Elly
Sallingboe of the B-17 Charitable Trust.
"It is particularly upsetting when
you think that Sally B flies as a memorial to 79,000 Allied airmen
who lost their lives in the skies over Europe."
"The aircraft is ready to fly, and we will do everything humanly
possible to find a solution. We have begun a national media
campaign to spread awareness of the aircraft's plight, raise the
additional funds and continue our fight for an exemption."
The new EU insurance rules, prompted by the September 11 attacks
in the United States in 2001, were adopted by the EU Council of
Ministers and European Parliament in April 2004. They took effect
on April 30.