By Scott Thompson of Aero Vintage.

As the spring and summer flying and airshow season gets underway, it’s nice to see all three of the actively flying B-17s in the U.S. these days have Living History Flight Experience (LHFE) tours or shows announced. The LHFE is an FAA-sanctioned program that allows qualified museums to offer rides in vintage warbirds to the general public as a bit of an exception to the normal operating rules for these old aircraft. The LHFE programs go a long way in keeping these B-17s in the air as a way to offset the cost of just flying these bombers period. With the price of high-octane aviation fuel jumping faster than auto fuel, one wonders how much longer it will be economically viable to keep flying these airplanes. Besides the direct operating costs, such things as maintenance and insurance costs have also skyrocketed. So, if any readers are interested…this might be the year. Do be aware, though, that these are old airplanes…you are not taking a commercial airliner…so weather maintenance and other factors may modify the schedules available below.

Sentimental Journey taking off at the Dekalb-Peachtree Airport in 2025… the CAF’s Flying Fortress will be touring North America this year giving rides and displaying before the public. The airplane will be back at the Dekalb-Peachtree Airport on May 27th   (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

The Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) B-17G Sentimental Journey (44-83514/N9323Z) has announced its Flying Legends of Victory tour dates beginning on April 3 at Chino, California, and extending through August 18 at Akron, Ohio. Most of the dates are in the southeastern and eastern U.S., plus a few Canadian dates. Check out the schedule here. Rides are being sold in the B-17 as well as the CAF’s B-25 and C-47.

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The Yankee Air Force’s B-17G, Yankee Lady (44-85829/N3193G), based at Ypsilanti Airport near Detroit, Michigan, has a schedule posted for the spring and summer months with appearances mostly in Michigan and Ohio. Appearances start on June 8 in Reading, Pennsylvania, and extend through August 11 in Muskegon, Michigan. No doubt more dates will be added. B-17 flights are $550 per person…no aircraft location is specified. Discounts are made of Yankee Air Museum members.

Yankee Air Museum’s B-17G “Yankee Lady” during a pass at Thunder Over Michigan 2014. (Photo by Mike Lambert)

Also actively flying is the Erickson Aircraft Collection B-17G, Ye Olde Pub (44-8543/N3701G). It has a few appearances scheduled for the summer in which they will be offering rides in the B-17. The first posted dates are June 15-16 at the Olympic (Washington) airshow, with subsequent dates announced at Wenatchee, Washington, on June 21-22. No doubt additional dates will be posted as they are arranged. Thirty-minute flights B-17 flights are $525 per person. Check this page on the Erickson Aircraft Collection website.

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The Experimental Aircraft Association’s B-17G, Aluminum Overcast (44-85740/N5017N), based at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, remains grounded for some long-term maintenance to correct a structural problem found during a routine inspection. We hope to see the airplane return to the skies and tour again in 2025.

Disassembling Aluminum Overcast for the journey back home to Oshkosh after spending the past two years under repair in Punta Gorda, Florida. (image via EAA)

Many thanks indeed to Scott A. Thompson for allowing us to reproduce this article… his book, Final Cut: The Post-War B-17 Flying Fortress and Survivors as well as other titles are the gold standard when it comes to the airframe history it describes!