The appearance of the Sentimental Journey, a World War II B-17G Flying Fortress, may provoke a few tears this weekend at the Carson City Airport's Air Fair 2005.
"You can see the older men reminiscing in their eyes," said Airport Manager Yvon Weaver.
The B-17 Flying Fortress was famous for daylight bombing raids over Germany during World War II. It could sustain battle damage and still safely fly the crew home, according to the Commemorative Air Force Arizona Wing, which restored Sentimental Journey as a flying museum/memorial.
Sentimental Journey comes to the Carson City Airport only once every two years, so Weaver said it'll probably attract a large crowd to the open house from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. In the past the open house has attracted thousands of visitors.
The public may tour inside the plane for a $5 donation, which goes toward the plane's upkeep. Members of the Arizona wing of the Commemorative Air Force are all volunteers. Flights on Sentimental Journey cost $395 per person for a 45-minute ride, with a minimum of five people a flight.
Weaver said despite the high cost, many World War II veterans and aviation enthusiasts quickly book flights through the weekend.
"It's nostalgic for them," she said. "This is what they flew in the service. The older men who flew in the wars remember all what happened to them there."
The B-17s were built by men and women more than 50 years ago. Out of 12,731 built there are only about 10 restored and airworthy.
Its four 1,200 horsepower engines burn about $600 worth of fuel per hour. The Commemorative Air Force is a nonprofit, tax exempt organization that finances the Sentimental Journey tour through donations, tours through the aircraft and the sale of memorabilia.
For about 10 years the Carson City Airport has hosted an open house. This year, Weaver said, up to 100 planes will be at the air fair and up to 20 vehicles. Modern and vintage aircraft, automobiles and military vehicles will be on display. The Nevada State Railroad Museum will bring something that isn't often seen at an airport - a hand car.
"Unlike the airplanes, we're bringing a different mode of transportation," said museum Director Peter Barton. " We're bringing one of our hand cars and a crew of volunteers who will be there all day to allow the public to ride the hand car and pump it. Visitors will experience what it would have been like to be a railroad track worker a hundred years ago."
The 400-pound hand car can be pumped by one person on level ground, but as many as four can pump it on a 100-foot-long "snap track."
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.
Carson Airport Air Fair
What: Carson City Airport Air Fair 2005
When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Carson City Airport, entrance at 2600 Graves Lane
• Tours offered from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, weather permitting, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
• To book flight reservations, call 1-602-538-5675 or go to www.arizonawingcaf.com