Sunday, May 1, 2016

WWII-era plane to touch down in North Platte

Bomber last in the area about 10 years ago; visitors can climb aboard aircraft

A poster with the photo of a B17G Aluminum Overcast World War II bomber advertises the upcoming event on Tuesday at North Platte Regional Airport. Tours and rides may be purchased on this historic aircraft.

World War II airplane aficionados can look forward to a local visit from a B17G Aluminum Overcast bomber on Tuesday, May 3, at North Platte Regional Airport.

Tim Liewer, local chapter president of the Experimental Aircraft Association, is coordinating the event.

“The purpose of this event is to honor, respect and educate people about the sacrifices made in WWII,” Liewer said.

The Experimental Aircraft Association is a nonprofit group that helps bring historic aircraft to North Platte.

“The last time this airplane came to North Platte about 10 years ago, a woman came out with a cigar box and pay stubs as Rosie the Riveter,” Liewer said. “She was paid 50 cents an hour.”

Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, a nickname for American women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies.

Local resident Ed Martens was a captain on a B17.

“He was 21 and was the old man on the plane,” Liewer said. “His plane caught fire on a mission over Germany. His crew bailed out and he was the last man on the ship.”

Martens stayed with the plane when the fire went out and flew solo to France, Liewer said. His crew spent the rest of the year in a prison camp.

The public will have several options to enter and view the B17 on Tuesday. Ground tours will take place from 2-5 p.m. Cost for the ground tours is $10 for individuals; children 8 years and younger with a paid adult enter free. Families can enter the plane for $20, while veterans and active military may tour for free.

There is another interesting option between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. for those who would like to experience a flight. The cost for EAA members is $435 and for the general public $475, which includes a one-year membership in the EAA.

“The funds are basically break-even to maintain the airplane,” Liewer said. “The funds raised will pay for 400 gallons of fuel that will be purchased from Trego Aviation.”

Liewer, of Hershey, has been interested in aircraft since he was 19 years old. He is also a pilot.

“I restore antique airplanes,” Liewer said. “My wife and I flew a WWII Stearman around the World Trade Center and I flew that airplane from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”

For more information, call Liewer at 530-6547; to pre-book a flight for Tuesday’s event, go to the EAA website at

Liewer said a retired farmer from Kansas booked a ride on the plane on Tuesday as well.

Original article can be found here:

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