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B-17 bomber comes to Shreveport, despite no air show

Sam Bulgar

An iconic airplane of World War II, the B-17, will touch down at Shreveport Downtown Airport on Friday, May 3, and be open for tours and flights around Shreveport/Bossier.  It’s owned by the Gulf Coast Wing, a unit of the Commemorative Air Force. Historian Christopher Ebdon of Houston said this B-17 is one of three still in existence, and the only one still flying. It was used by the Navy for early warning radar. Ebdon said it came off the assembly line, along with another B-17, that is displayed on the flight line at Barksdale Air Force Base.

"It's kind of a funny occurrence, the B-17 that is at the Barksdale Global Power Museum was actually off the same assembly line, and they were both built in 1944 and delivered in 1945. They were both actually rolled out on the same day," Ebdon said.

People will be able to go inside the bomber and tour the nose, cockpit, bomb bay and radio room. Ebdon said  it costs $3,500 per hour in fuel and oil when this aircraft is aloft. The bomber has been part of the Barksdale Air Show for years, which was scheduled for this weekend and canceled due to federal budget cuts. Ebdon said this B-17 is sticking to its schedule.

"Since we already had cut out this weekend for Shreveport, we decided, hey, let's go to Shreveport. Even though we can’t bring you an air show, we can certainly bring you an outstanding piece of history," Ebdon said.

The B-17 will be open for tours and flights on May 3, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Shreveport Downtown Airport. On Saturday, the aircraft will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Ebdon said the B-17 may be part of Friday's roll call at Barksdale Air Force Base. If that occurs, the tours will end at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 3, with normal hours resuming Saturday, May 4.