On April 11 the Champaign County Retired Teachers Association (CCRTA) is hosting a luncheon meeting at Urbana’s Grimes Aviation Museum. As most airplane enthusiasts know, the museum facility is working on restoring the B-17 “Champaign Lady” to be one of only 10 airworthy such planes in existence.
Currently, there is still limited seating available, so the CCRTA is opening up the few remaining reservation requests to area residents. Seating accommodations will be given out on a first come, first commitment basis. Those hoping to latch onto one of the remaining tickets must call Ruth Hunsberger at 937-605-3105 by the end of day on April 6.
Each $15 reservation will include a Paul Poppel catered luncheon that will begin promptly at 11am at the Grimes Aviation Museum at 1636 North Main Street in Urbana. During the meal there will be a raffle featuring four Dayton Dragons tickets. After lunch there will be a short CCRTA business meeting followed by a talk and tour of the B-17 restoration project.
The Boeing B-17 was a four-engine bomber developed in the 1930’s for the U.S. Army Air Corps. Because of its heavy armament, the B-17 became known as “The Flying Fortress.” The plane was prominently employed in the daylight precision strategic bombing campaign of World War II against German industrial and military targets. Between 1937 and 1945 12,731 B-17s were built for the war; 4,735 of these planes were destroyed in combat. The average life span for B-17 pilots was eleven missions.
The “Memphis Belle” is the most famous B-17. The Belle was the first plane to complete 25 bombing missions. As a result, its crew was allowed to return home and were involved in war bond promotions. The Belle is now on display at the Wright-Patterson Air Force base in Dayton.
Those local residents wishing to try to obtain one of the few remaining seats for the program must call (937-605-3105) by April 6.
Info from Chuck Spinner/CCRTA