HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Planes and flight technology have come a long way in the past 80 years. But for some of the steel birds that carried Americans serving in World War II, age is nothing but a number.
The Liberty Foundation is giving people the chance to take-off in a piece of history in the 'Madras Maiden,' a beautifully restored B-17 bomber.
"It's the ultimate history lesson," says Ray Fowler, Director of Flight Operations for the Liberty Foundation.
The non-profit educational organization gives people the chance to 'live' history from a classroom in the sky.
And those who actually lived it, get a chance to reconnect with the past. "Obviously it's getting thinner now since the youngest is in their 90s. Even in their 90s they get on board, we always say they're 19 again, there's nothing from stopping them getting in their crew position, regardless of what their health is," said Fowler.
Back during the war it was all hands on deck with ten men inside ready to take their positions. Manning the thirteen 50-caliber guns around the plane on the bottom, side and perhaps the most dangerous, the tail.
"One veteran told me, he walked up and I shook his hand and he said, I've flown around the world twice backward," recalled Fowler.
With 15 years and almost $4 million of restoration, the 'Madras Maiden' is one of 13 worldwide that still takes to the skies.
The Liberty Foundation relies on the public's support to keep the plane in the air and out of a museum. They will be giving flights and tours in Huntsville on Sunday, September 16.
Tickets are $450 and all proceeds go towards keeping the plane preserved and in flight so it can continue to educate others. You can buy a ticket and learn more about the foundation by clicking here.