Arguably the most iconic plane from WWII, the B-17 Bomber, soared over Salt Lake Monday, and for the right price, you could fly in it.
"There's nothing like this," said one lucky passenger who got to fly for free. "This is once in a lifetime."
The passenger was part of a group of media and veterans that were invited up Monday by the Liberty Foundation. The Liberty Foundation tours a B-17 around the country in an attempt to share history first hand.
Today, I get to fly in a B-17, the plane my Grandpa was shot down from in WWII. I'm taking the 360 degree camera with me. story tonight! pic.twitter.com/Sh4sXN8jfm— Jeff McAdam (@JeffMcAdamTV) May 1, 2017
"Our goal is to be a living museum," said David Lyon, spokesman and pilot for Liberty Foundation. "Rather than put the plane behind a velvet rope in some museum, we want to let people get in it, touch it, smell it."
And for the price of $450, you can go up on a flight too.
"It's not inexpensive to run the plane," Lyon said. He said the plane costs $5,000 per flight and $1,500,000 annually to keep up in the air. The 45-minute flight experience includes a half an hour flight.
There was once over 12,000 operational B-17's, but today, there's only a dozen remaining that can get off the ground. The plane, nicknamed the Flying Fortress was instrumental in fighting the Germans in World War II and was used in the Korean Conflict and in Vietnam.
An estimated 54-thousand were killed in B-17's during wartime. So, finding living veterans in Salt Lake City to share their stories and go up for a complimentary ride Monday was difficult to do. So much so, that despite inviting a handful of B-17 veterans, none were healthy enough to make the trip to Salt Lake Airport Monday.