WWII-era B-17 Flying Fortress open for tours at airport

Sam Ribakoff
Farmington Daily Times

Gray skies and a chilly fall day didn’t stop Sue and Mark Shepherd, and the rest of their crew from the Flying Legends of Victory Tour from landing Sentimental Journey, a World War II era B-17 Flying Fortress, from landing at Four Corners Regional Airport in Farmington on the morning of Sep. 23.

“We flew over the mountains today at about 17,000 feet,” said Mark Shepherd, one of the aviators who flew Sentimental  Journey into Farmington, “it’s not warm back there, there’s no heating,” he said about being in the cramped plane. “That gives you a good perspective of what young men experienced in 1944.”

Built in November 1944, Sentimental Journey served in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. Built as a bomber, with room for 10 soldiers in tightly confined spaces, the plane served mostly search and rescue and aerial photography missions according to Shepherd.

After the war, the plane was retired to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base outside of Tucson, Arizona. Later it was brought to Chico, California, where it was used to fight forest fires. There it was eventually bought by Commemorative Air Force Airbase in Arizona.“Sentimental Journey will be on display and open for tours, for a donation beginning at $10, at Four Corners Regional Airport in Farmington from Sept. 23 to Thursday, Sept. 26. From Sept. 27 to Sept. 29, the plane will take short, 20 minute, flights for $425 for seats in the gunner or radio room, and $850 for seats in the Bombardier compartment.

Sam Ribakoff is a reporter and videographer for the Farmington Daily Times.  He can be reached via email at SRibakoff@daily-times.com or at 505-564-4621.

Sue Shepherd of Flying Legends of Victory Tour stands in front of "Sentimental Journey."

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