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WWII bomber lands in Logan to offer tours and inspire future pilots

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 20:07:02-04

LOGAN, Utah — A World War II bomber landed in Logan today for tour and rides in the upcoming week, but also to inspire future pilots to take to the skies.

The plane, a Boeing B-17 "flying fortress," commands a huge presence for the way it flies, lands, and sounds.

"It teaches what these planes were like back then, and more importantly, what the crewmen and the people of that era went through," said B-17 co-pilot George Madok.

Seeing an actual World War II bomber provides a sense of the history of that time, but may also help with a current problem.

At the Utah State University (USU) flight school, estimates of an 80,000 nationwide pilot shortage isn't considered "dire," but it's up there, says USU Director of Airport Operations Aaron Dyches.

But there is no shortage of pilots willing to fly the bomber, which Madok calls "the best job in the world."

"It's just an honor that they let me fly it," added pilot in command Brian Churchill.

But commercial pilots have a tough path, many of whom start as military pilots while working their way towards becoming a captain of a regional jet.

Long stretches of time away from home can also make recruiting for pilots a tough sell. But it offers many advantages for those who love to adventure.

"My dad was a pilot for the airlines, he used to fly this airplane. My brother’s a pilot for the airlines, he still flies this airplane," says Churchill.

"It’s a great career . . . if you like travel, it’s a lot of travel."