Historic B-17 Bomber Makes Stop in Central Iowa

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ANKENY, Iowa – A very rare bomber plane flew into the Des Moines metro Tuesday afternoon.

The “Aluminum Overcast” stopped by the Ankeny airport. The Experimental Aircraft Association says it’s just one of 15 B-17’s that are still airworthy.

The bombers were used in World War II.

Because of their long-range capability, they were known for flying into battle with no fighter escort.

After the war most of the planes were cut up for scraps or sold.

Don McDillivary served in Italy in 1944. He says he served from Easter to Thanksgiving that year as a radio operator/gunner.

“Lots of memories…some of them pretty bad. I’m the only member of my crew that finished the missions, while I was in school my crew got shot down. But that old bird brought me home 50 times,” says McDillivary.

McDillivary was just looking at the B-17 this time around. When it was here a couple years ago he took a spin in it.

Don says he will be celebrating his 90th birthday on Thursday.