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B-17 Bomber Exhibition Offers Experience, Reflection for Veterans

Even on a rainy Friday, tour tickets for the B-17 Bomber, one of the most iconic warplanes from World War II, still sold out. 

Hundreds of people attended the exhibit at the Springfield-Branson National Airport to embrace this historic icon. 

The aircraft is one of 10 airworthy B-17s remaining out of over 12,000 manufactured for combat during World War II.

The warbird carries many memories and sentiment from the war era. Many visitors came to the exhibit to immerse themselves and honor their loved ones. 

Gary Klint, whose late brother was one of the mechanics for this very plane, toured it with his wife, Diana . One of Klint’s friend, who is now in his 80s, was also the radio man for this very plane. Diana learned about the exhibit and the tour; she seized the opportunity and bought two tickets.

“It’s very sentimental for us,” said Klint. 

For Robert Dodds, a Vietnam War veteran, the exhibit serves both his interest and memories for his loved ones.

“Being a veteran, I’ve also read a lot about World War II and their different equipment and airplanes; it’s a lot of fun to come out and see real World War II equipment,” said Dodds. 

Both Dodds’ father and stepfather served in World War II. From afar, Dodds was pointing at the plane and explaining things to his family at the exhibit. His body language spoke for his interest and emotion. 

The exhibit will run through Sunday. Three flight tours are scheduled per day. There are 10 seats in the plane, two are reserved for crew members. The six rear seats tickets are $425 each, and the nose tickets are $850 each. While all remaining tickets are all sold out, volunteers are still taking names for the stand-by list in case there are cancellations or no shows. 

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