The Good News Is, History takes flight in Concord

by David Whisenant  bio l email

CONCORD, NC (WBTV) - Imagine being able to revisit a part of your life that you left behind more than 60 years ago.
This weekend in Concord many will be able to do that, while at the same time showing friends and family members of a younger generation a flying piece of history.

George Hipp of Concord just had to come out and see it.

"We were in training in this aircraft," said Hipp.  "We were slated to go to B-29's and we were headed to the Pacific, but when Truman dropped the bomb that stopped everything."

George flew one just like the one on the runway at Concord Regional Airport.  

It is the Liberty Belle, a refurbished 1945 B-17 Flying Fortress.

This particular plane didn't see action in the war, it was finished just as the war ended, but it has flown a lot of miles treating all kinds of folks to an unforgettable experience. 

Monday in Concord it was the center of attention, but no one could appreciate it quite like George.

"I like to hear those four engines turn, it's a sound that comes off of those things that you can't hear anywhere else," Hipp added.

On Monday those engines were turning in the skies over Concord.

Space was tight but the views were spectacular, from the front of the plane, and believe it or not, from an open air platform in the center of the plane.

There are only 14 B-17's that still fly out of more than 12,000 produced in the 30's and 40's. This plane is lovingly flown by volunteers who make up a foundation that keeps this bird in the air.

They do it so that you and I can have this experience and to pay tribute to veterans who sacrificed so much for our freedom.

And when one of those vets rides in the Liberty Belle, he signs his name on the door.

Concord veteran George Hipp didn't go up today, for him, just seeing one again was enough.

"It brings back a lot of memories, it surely does." Hipp said.

You can take flight in the Liberty Belle this weekend. Flights are from 10 to 5 Saturday and Sunday at the Concord Regional Airport.

To find out more check out the foundation web site,