A Proud History of Flying Missouri Bombers

By Travis H. Brown

These days, lobbying for defense contracts within the U.S. Air Force is big money for the Saint Louis RegionBoeing St. Louis appears to have scored a large contract for C-17s, a great flying aircraft that I have had the pleasure to operate (at least from their very elegant flight simulator at Lambert Field).

I believe that aviation can touch all of our lives in meaningful ways, even if it is primarily-designed for our Armed Forces, and not Southwest Airlines.  One great way to share these experiences is from looking backwards into our past.

To experience aviation history, our Saint Louis Science Center has wonderful exhibits that go back at least to Charles Lindbergh here.  Other wonderful collections, such as Boeing Field’s Museum of Flight, also have a wonderful array of living metal history.

But, let’s be clear:  nothing beats flying the real thing off a runway.  This week, in Jefferson City, Missouri, of all places, was an authentic B-17 Flying Fortress.  The notion that aviators (like my uncle in WWII) could equip gunners to invade the Pacific or Berlin in this tail-dragging plane still seems amazing.

If you get a chance to kick the tires of this aircraft, or even fly in one with an EAA aviation program like this one in Jefferson City, jump on it!  Along the way, if a veteran helped make your adventure possible, give him or her thanks for his/her services for our freedoms.

Here’s a quick video lobbying you in case you can head up near the State Capitol to see this bird in person.