• The Last of Combat B-17 Drivers

    Atlas Books

  • $45.00

  • Description

    The legacy of the Boeing B-17 has been a part of Col. Hal Weekley s life since August of 1943. He has the unique and very special status of being the last active B-17 pilot and Aircraft Commander who flew combat during WW II. I first met Hal when I became the EAA Director of Aircraft Operations in 2001. I had the privilege of watching Hal take his last flight in the airplane during AirVenture that same year. After years of sorting the various artifacts and memories of his trek, Hal has produced the definitive story about B-17 flying. His writing quickly puts the reader in the mindset of sitting along side Hal, and sharing his life which is unfolding with each page. You are with him on his Harley-Davidson as a teen, and you laugh as Hal secures his first flying lessons in an Aeronca C-3 for six bucks an hour! Most significantly, you share a glimpse of the incredible fortitude and leadership that Hal and the rest of the greatest generation displayed through the most epic conflict of our nation s history. This book is the great story of the human element in an inhumane world. Perhaps the most amazing feature of this book is the vivid accounting of the day-to-day elements of Hal s life during WW II. His recollection of even the most minuet details is amazing. Comments made or actions taken that most of us would have forgotten about after a week, Hal has still retained and shared with the reader. A great example of this is when Hal recollects his briefing for his very first combat mission. You might as well be sitting in the Nisssen hut along side him. You literally feel like you are there! Hal s superb memory gives the reader a perspective that most books written 60 years after the fact fail to achieve.  If spy novels are your thing then Hal s recollection of his being shot down and evading the enemy with the French underground will amaze you. Of course, this is not a novel; this is true to life history. Hal accounts for his three weeks behind enemy lines with such zeal that you remind yourself to keep breathing while reading the chapter! After putting the book down I found myself lamenting in the fact that this really happened!  What makes The Last of the B-17 Combat Drivers unique is the story that continues on after the war. Hal recounts his continued association with flying the B-17 through EAA s Aluminum Overcast. Hal began flying N 5017N in February, 1979 and continued as an EAA B-17 pilot until his retirement during AirVenture, 2001. This is the first time that a detailed history of EAA s B-17 has been published. Any EAA member who is fond of their association s flagship will enjoy the story within a story about our beloved Aluminum Overcast.  EAA members, Flying Fortress aficionados, and WW II history buffs will find The Last of the B-17 Combat Drivers a great book that is a must have for your collection. Col. Hal Weekley brings vivid, detailed accounts of his life-long adventures with the Queen of the Sky s, Boeing s B-17 Flying Fortress. The best part you will be sitting right beside him every step of the way. --Sean Elliott, Director, Aircraft Operations, EAA

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