B-17 ‘Sentimental Journey’ offering tours and rides this week in Walla Walla

WALLA WALLA, Wash. — The historical B-17 warplane “Sentimental Journey” landed in  Walla Walla today. The plane is currently at Walla Walla airport through Sunday for ground tours and rides.

Sentimental Journey is one of five active B-17 planes currently flying in the world today. Around 12,700 B-17 planes were manufactured during World War II. The plane visits over 40 locations in the United States annually.

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Roddy Charlton, a Flight Load Master and Team Crew Member Lead, speaks about Sentimental Journey. “This one, specifically for me, is my mom came out from Nebraska with a lot of her relatives,” he says. “She was on the B-17 factory, and my mother put rivets in that airplane.

“So she was Rosie the Riveter, except her name was Margarite. So my mom was Margarite the Riveter, and she put rivets in that vertical.

“And every time I fly this airplane I put my hand against the skin and I feel some of the rivets, and I say a little prayer to my mom.”

Ground tours are available from 9a.m. to 6p.m. Tuesday – Friday. Admissions are $10 per person, or $20 per family.

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Tours focus on the plane and World War II historical information. You can go through the plane and learn about it’s operations, as well as learn about the history and sacrifices people made during World Wat II.

“We have a lot of World War II veterans come out at they look at the airplane,” Charlton says. “And we have them sign our bomb bay doors.”

Inside the bomb bay, dozens of signatures of World War II veterans from all over the world have signed the bay doors. Veterans from Modesto, Yokota Air Base, and  England, have signed the doors, to name a few.

Starting Friday, you can even book a flight tour. “[You can] sit in our waist area and back of the airplane. We have six seats back there,” Charlton says. “The we also have two seats in the nose of the airplane and that’s where the bombardier and the navigator sat.”

Tickets for the back of the plane are $425, while the front two seats run at $850. “And that seems like a little bit much,” Charlton explains, “But we burn 160 gallons of fuel an hour. And fuel is about $5 a gallon, so this is not a cheap airplane to fly.”

Many of the flights have been booked, but flights can be added if there’s enough interest. You can book flights by visiting their website here.

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