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B-17 bomber lands at downtown airport for tours, flights over Memorial Day weekend

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- This Memorial Day weekend, you can have a unique chance to fly like they did during World War II. A B-17 bomber landed at the downtown airport Monday and was quite a sight to see.

The Madras Maiden, a WWII-era plane, is ready to take you back in time.

"You find yourself imagining what the crews at the time were going through with this," said pilot Cullen Underwood. "They were in their late teens, early twenties, and they're going into a situation that wasn't going to be a good. I mean, at the beginning of the war, there was a huge number of crews lost."

Up in the sky, the flight hopes to give veterans and Kansas Citians an opportunity to experience the 'flying fortress.'

"It's a very special moment that people can come experience the aircraft as it was during WWII," Underwood said. "There`s not many of these airplanes around anymore, and a lot of people just don't get experience them with hands-on, and the sounds, and the smells and everything, so it's really neat."

Underwood said trips like this are rare, and important to keep the memory of those lost alive.

"We like to honor them. We hate it that there are so many that are gone that don't get to experience. Each stop we typically have a veteran that comes out, but it`s getting now that we don`t even have veterans that come out," Underwood said.

It's a historical snapshot for passengers hundreds of feet in the air.

"It's great for the veterans to come out, and the emotions that well up inside of them. It means a significant amount to me, because you can see it. They just get the big grins, and they're almost like a kid again," Underwood said.

If you want to fly in The Madras Maiden it could set you back a pretty penny. A 45-minute flight costs around $450 dollars. It's so expensive because it actually costs more than $5,000 an hour to fly the plane. The Liberty foundation will also be conducting ground tours of the aircraft.

It will be available on May 26 & 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the downtown airport in Kansas City. For more information, you can contact The Liberty Foundation at 918-340-0243 or visit their website.

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