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Veterans Take Trip Back in Time on B-17 Bomber

Created: 08/14/2014 10:54 PM KAALtv.com
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- It was a trip down memory lane for a couple veterans today, as they took a ride in one of the last flying World War Two B-17 bombers. ABC 6 News was on board the flight capturing the unforgettable experience.

"I’m looking forward to this,” said World War Two Veteran, Roger Hovland. He says a ride on what's known as the flying fortress of the World War Two is a dream come true "I’m a few days away from 90 and so it's not going to happen again,” said Hovland.

Roger was a B-25 Army Pilot that just missed combat action. His love of flying remains today, with one last ride in a 1940’s aircraft. “It’s remarkable really,” he said.

"I’ve flew 21 missions,” said Veteran Lewis Severance, who was once a B-17 Navigator in World War Two.

"This airplane here that you see did not actually serve, it was built for the purpose of the war and came out may 1945 right at the tail end,” said Michael Hastings, Aircraft Commander. Only a handful of B-17 airplanes still fly today, in honor of veterans. "We’re losing so many of them, over a thousand a day are passing away and we're losing the history right along with them,” said Hastings.

It took us five minutes to get to 1,500 feet in the air. The aircraft is loud, but it’s not anything compared to what they experienced in the 1940’s. "We’re here on a nice day with wonderful weather, but what the gentleman were doing that were fighting in this aircraft, they were at negative 50 degree temperatures at an altitude where they couldn't breathe without an oxygen mask,” said Hastings.

It may not be as fast or smooth as a jumbo jet and it's a little cramped, but no doubt it’s a ride you won't find anywhere else, a ride back in time. "It brings back memories,” said Severance.

"It's kind of a last hooray,” said Hovland.

This aircraft is in town through Sunday. Anyone can tour or take a ride at the Rochester International Airport. For more details visit http://tour.b17.org/Rochester