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Sentimental Journey: Fully Restored B-17 Takes Flight before Capital Airshow

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RANCHO CORDOVA--

A piece of history flew right into Mather Airport on Monday.

"Sentimental Journey,"  a restored B-17G WWII Bomber flew from Napa County Airport into Mather Jet Center a little after 11 a.m.

"It's going to go away if we don’t teach these young people what these great men and women did during the war,” said crew member Mel Pepitone. “And we just want to keep it alive.”

"Sentimental Journey" is one of less than 10 B-17 Bombers still flying today. Only about 50 still exist. During WWII 12,731 were built, but only half survived through the war.

"Not even men, some 17, 18, 19 years old, going off to war,” said Pepitone. “Early in the war, only one out of three aircraft came back.”

The B-17, which became known as the Flying Fortress, flew in both the European and Pacific Theaters during WWII. A crew of 10 men experienced temperatures as low as 60 below freezing in an unpressurized plane.

"They're our heroes, and they can't understand that,” said Pepitone. “They can't understand why we hold them in such high esteem."

"Sentimental Journey" will be on display at Mather Jet Center from Sept. 28 through Oct. 2. As part of the California Capital Airshow, the aircraft will be available for rides on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4, with rides available to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To book a ride please call the B-17 ride coordinator at (602) 448-9415 or visit www.saccaf.org.