A pair of aviation superstars will be in the spotlight at Crossville Memorial Airport’s milestone 85th anniversary fly-in and open house celebration at the end of the month.
We are going to have some aircraft that have never been here before,” said Crossville City Manager Greg Wood. “One of this is one of the 10 B-17s that is currently still flying. We'll also have the oldest-flying DC-3.”
Wood is enthusiastic about this year's event, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 28 at the airport off Sparta Hwy. at 103 Airport Way. Admission is free.
Not only will folks be able to see the historic aircraft up close and personal, they'll be able to book flights above Crossville in both the Yankee Lady B-17 bomber and the Flagship Detroit DC-3.
Rides aboard the Yankee Lady will be $450 per person. Reservations are now being taken for 6 p.m. Sept. 27 and 11 a.m. and noon Sept. 28 at yankeeairmuseum.org. A maximum of 12 passengers is allowed for each 35-minute flight.
The B-17, also known as the Flying Fortress, was designed by Boeing Aircraft in 1934 to meet an Army Air Corps specification for a four-engined bomber in a period during which two-engined bombers were the standard.
The World War II-era Yankee Lady boasts an impressive 104-foot wingspan and has hit top speeds of 287 mph. The Michigan-based Yankee Air Museum owns the aircraft, which reportedly did not fly combat missions during the war.
The Yankee Lady's co-star, the Flagship Detroit, also cuts quite the historic pose. Those wishing to fly aboard the world's oldest-flying DC-3 can go to flagshipdetroit.org to purchase memberships ranging from $100 to more than $20,000 for the opportunity.
Manufactured in 1937, the Flagship Detroit was the 21st DC-3 in American Airlines' fleet and was in regular passenger service until 1947. It had the distinction of flying First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to various destinations during her husband’s presidency, and it's reported she always sat in the rear seat, right side, just forward for the entry door. Legend has it she chose that seat to be the last person boarded and the first person deplaned.
Those attending the Crossville air show will see the Flagship Detroit in mint condition, just as it was delivered to American Airlines, with the crew in vintage AA uniforms. It is owned by the Flagship Detroit Foundation, a nonprofit agency dedicated to preserving the DC-3 legacy.
Spectators at this year's fly-in will be able to see a P-51 Mustang long-range fighter that's been called one of the greatest fighters of World War II and various other aircraft which, along with the Yankee Lady and Flagship Detroit, will provide lots of opportunities to see rare airplanes and take photos. Plane rides of $25 each will also be offered, with the city splitting the proceeds from the rides with Cumberland Medical Center's Regional Cancer Center.
Six food vendors with fare including barbecue, burgers, tacos and shaved ice will be on site. Kids' activities include a bounce house and face painting.
Wood said the top-notch fly-in is thanks to $12,000 raised from sponsorships and in-kind donations.
“We will have a better airshow and cost the city less money,” he said.