By Bill Stansbeary
On June 7, Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum held the Airpower Heritage Hangar Dance at the XJet facility at Centennial Airport. The event honored veterans from WWII, Southeast Asia, Korea and the Gulf.
A main attraction at the dance was Aluminum Overcast, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s World War II-era Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress. That week, the Wings Over the Rockies, in conjunction with the EAA, hosted flights and ground tours of the restored B-17.
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Harold “Hal” Weekley was a special guest, sharing his 58 years of piloting experience. Weekley deployed to England in 1944; after he had completed 18 missions piloting the B-17, German flak downed his plane over Nazi-occupied France. His entire aircraft crew survived, and after evading capture, he escaped to friendly lines. Weekley began volunteering as a pilot on Aluminum Overcast after retiring from the Air Force.
The aircraft commemorates the end of WWII in the “Keep it Flying Tour,” honoring those who served and sacrificed during that time in our nation’s history by offering flights in a rare B-17 bomber and guided ground tours. Members of EAA Warbirds of America fly the B-17.
Additional attractions, hosted by FBO Signature Flight Support, were warbirds on static display, a museum store, flight simulators featuring the B-17, veterans’ corner, an encampment with a variety of military vehicles and appearances by authors Weekley, “The Last of the Combat B-17 Drivers”; Jerry Whitting, “Don’t Let the Blue Star Turn Gold”; and Dr. Jack Ballard, “The Last Ace.”
Founded in 1994, the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is located at the former Lowry Air Force Base.
For more information, visit [http://www.wingsmuseum.org].