The Madras Maiden to take flight over Kansas City this weekend

One of the last remaining B-17 open to tours & rides

June 15, 2017 - 2:49 pm

Kansas City, MO - The Wheeler Downtown Airport is hosting one of the last still-flying B-17 bombers from the World War II era.

Operated and flown by the non-profit Liberty Foundation, the 'Madras Maiden' will be open to tours and for sight-seeing flights over the city both Saturday and Sunday.

The B-17 bomber is one of the most iconic planes of WWII - propelled by four 1,200 horsepower engines, it carried thousands of pounds of bombs and bristled with multiple gun-turrets - it was known as the "Flying Fortress".

Out of the nearly 13,000 planes that were built - only 12 of the planes still fly, thanks to painstaking renovations and maintanance to keep them airworthy.

The 'Madras Maiden' was built in 1944 but never flew in combat, instead being used as a research and development plane in the 40's and 50's. Later, it was used to haul fresh produce between the Caribbean and Florida, was outfitted as a fire ant sprayer, and eventually sold to three aviation museums which began to restore the plane to its original 'vintage' configuration.

The plane brings back memories for WWII veterans.  Roy Shenkel, 93, of Shawnee was a crew member of a B-17 shot down over the Alps, the first Flying Fortress brought down by the Germans during the war.

Shenkel spent 13 months in a German POW camp. This weekend, he'll get his first flight in a B-17 since being shot down.


Touring the Madras Maiden is open to the public - Saturday & Sunday - June 17/18 - at the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport

If you want to take a ride it'll cost $450 per person for about 30 minutes of flight time.



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