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Historic bomber comes to Syracuse

My father was a navigator on a B-17 bomber during World War Two. Growing up he told me stories about the plane, but I never really understood what it was like to fly in one until the "Liberty Belle," a restored B-17 bomber, came to Syracuse.

The "Liberty Belle" is one of just fourteen B-17's still flying today. The old bomber was discovered in a scrap yard and painstakingly restored by the Liberty Foundation, a non-profit a group of volunteers dedicated to preserving the B-17's historic past for future generations. Volunteer Pilot John Ferguson says the "Liberty Belle," is a living museum. "It comes back to the history and honoring the World War Two Veteran because if it wasn't for them we wouldn't have the freedoms that we have today," he says. Volunteer Pilot Bob Hill says the first thing you realize onboard a B-17 is how small the plane really is and how dangerous flying one into combat must have been with enemy fighters and shrapnel coming at you from all directions. "It really had to be scary even for 20 year olds who were in the airplane it had to be absolutely terrifying," he says.

With machine guns protecting it on all sides the B-17 was dubbed the "Flying Fortress," but the plane was heavy and close to 5,000 of the slow moving bombers were shot down over Germany during the war. "That is a lot of airplanes," Hill says. "Ten men in each airplane so that was a lot of carnage."

The Liberty Foundation will be offering flights on the Liberty Belle this Sunday at Hancock Field. For more information: www.libertyfoundation.org

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