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WWII Vet Takes Ride In B-17

By Sondra Murphy

Boyd Ford was still walking on air after being invited to ride in a B-17 bomber Monday. “It was quite an experience,” said Boyd. “I’ve hitchhiked on a B-24 before, but never a B-17.” This time, Ford rode in the Experimental Aircraft Association’s “Aluminum Overcast,” a bomber built by the Douglas Aircraft Company and delivered to the Air Force in 1945. The B-17 was the world’s first all-metal, four-engine monoplane and was dubbed “The Flying Fortress” by a reporter impressed by the plane’s prominent gun positions, size and streamlined appearance. Its long-range strategic bombing and high-altitude precision daylight bombing met World War II needs by holding a crew of up to 10 men, more than 12 .50-caliber machine guns and a typical bomb load of 5,000 pounds. It had a range of 2,000 miles and commonly flew at altitudes of 10,000 to 30,000 feet, cruised at 180 mph and had a top speed of 300 mph. At the end of World War II, the B-17 had carried 40 percent of

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