This past weekend, the city of Tulsa had a unique visitor. This visitor was not a person or a band, but a historic airplane. This airplane, a B-17 bomber, is currently on a tour — the World War II Salute to Victory Tour — across the southern part of the country and Tulsa chosen to be one of the stops on the tour.
This B-17 Flying Fortress, the Yankee Lady, is owned by The Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run Airport in Belleville, Michigan. Founded in 1981, the Yankee Air Museum has a collection of airplanes that they display with a goal “to educate individuals through the history of American aeronautics, aerospace industries and their associated technologies while inspiring generations through personal experiences to instill pride in their national accomplishments.” Every year, they have five aircrafts that they allow the public to explore and fly in as they tour around the state and around the country.
The B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engine heavy bomber. These planes were developed by the United States Army Air Corps in the 1930s and 1940s. Over the course of the nine years that the B-17 was in production, over 12,700 bombers were produced. While over 12,700 planes were produced, only 46 planes are still around today with less than 15 that can still be flown.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, the museum attendees at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum were able to view this plane as well as go inside the Yankee Lady to explore it and see what it would be like to be in it when it was flying all over the world in the 1940s. For an additional cost, a limited number of guests were able to fly in the plane and take a thirty-minute tour around Tulsa in the historic aircraft.
Since some of these aircrafts were built in Tulsa, this visit of the Yankee Lady to Tulsa fits into the mission statement of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum which is ”preserving Oklahoma’s aerospace heritage to inspire science-based learning through discovery.” Speaking about the experience that the museum was able to provide over the weekend, the Executive Director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium said, “As a community rich with World War II history, we are honored to have this rare aircraft plan a day long visit here.” She went on to say that it is “quite a thrill for us to have an award-winning example visit Tulsa.”