World War II B-17 airplane lands in Marion, Illinois, for tours

MARION,IL — A World War II bomber B-17 airplane landed at the Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois on Monday. It’s one of 10 that are still able to fly.

The plane was made in 1945. It was brought to Marion by the Experimental Aircraft Association.

“Wars will never be fought the same way again,” said World War II veteran Bob Amunrud.

Amunrud knows about the price of war. Although he never saw action, he said he knows all about sacrifice. He took a ride on the B-17 airplane Monday. He said the plane is an example of the strength of our country.

Bob Amunrud WWII veteran

“Our country is built on this history. You must know what your country is built on,” said Amunrud.

The plane seats 10 people. While in the air, you can consider that history and think of the brave soldiers who got into planes just like it.

“It at least gives you some perspective when you’re in there to think about the 19-year-old kids manning the guns in these airplanes,” said Experimental Aircraft Association volunteer Scott Hartwig

During World War II, the plane was operated mainly by teenagers. They flew through freezing temperatures with no glass in the windows and no seats. They were operating mostly by their survival instincts.

The airplane turned the tide of the war in Europe.

Volunteer pilot Rex Gray said that’s exactly why it’s important to keep our history alive.

“Unfortunately, I’m afraid their story will leave us if we don’t keep it alive. I think it’s important as we move into the future to remember the sacrifices we may need to make to keep what we have,”said Gray.

Tuesday, visitors can take a ride on the plane starting at 10 a.m. Ticket to tour the plane are $10 each. Veterans and active duty military members can tour the plane for free. To take a ride, tickets are $435 for the first flight. The price includes a membership to the organization and discounts on other flights.

The money goes back to Experimental Aircraft Association to keep the plane touring the country.  To schedule your flight visit eaa.org.