Last week, a historic B-17 “Liberty Belle” was forced to make an emergency landing in an Illinois cornfield. And while all seven crew members and volunteers onboard escaped serious injury, the aircraft itself was completely destroyed by fire (You can read more about the incident on AVweb and EAA plus listen to the incident unfold from the control tower by clicking here).
However, Peter Bertorelli has written a thought provoking post for AVwebinsider where he asked:
Should we really be flying these historical treasures or should they hang in museums for posterity?
Peter answers with an unconditional yes in order for people to see and hear these old aircraft in action. On the other hand, he did point out that these aircraft were never intended to remain in service for this long and it’s a struggle to keep such aircraft airworthy given the lack of parts available. Hence, they may not be the safest aircraft to fly or be flying in.
Peter then ended his post by saying that he can only hope that the operators of historic airplanes like B-17s take appropriate precautions and that there are plenty of worthy examples that are still safely on display in museums. Hence, we are not endangered of loosing the last example of a B-17.
However, we want to ask you our readers what you think: Should historic aircraft like the B-17 still be flown if they are airworthy or perhaps they should all just be safely tucked away in some museum somewhere?