Two World War II planes along with their crews landed at Carl Keller Field Monday as part of annual training exercises. The group — from the Yankee Air Museum in Belleville, Mich., — brought B-17 and B-25 bombers out for check rides for the first time after maintenance.
“Once a year we have to have the check rides for all of our pilots who fly this aircraft,” said Gene Wedekemper, volunteer with the Yankee Museum and 747 pilot for Delta Airlines.
The check rides are thorough and demanding, according to Wedekemper. They include simulated engine failure, various emergency situations and multiple approaches, similar to the check rides used by the professional airlines.
But Monday’s trip wasn’t all work. The volunteer pilots and crew got to tour the Liberty Aviation Museum under construction on the airport property.
“The people should be honored to have a museum like that here in this part of the country,” Wedekemper said. “These are in demand in the bigger cities.”
According to Stan Gebhardt, director of the Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport, construction on the building should be completed at the end of May with a grand opening celebration set for July 20-22.
The Yankee pilots and crew will return for that celebration, along with visits June 6 and 27 to offer rides to the public. For information or to make a reservation for a flight, call Dave Wright at 734-483-4030, ext. 236.
For information about the Liberty Aviation Museum under construction on State Road, visit: www.libertyaviationmuseum.org
For more on Yankee Air Museum and the fly-ins this summer, visit: www.yankeeairmuseum.org