B-17 flight helps local veteran connect with his dad

Deb Zwez

“Just amazing.”

Gary McElroy used that phrase a couple of time when he was talking about his recent ride in a B-17 bomber. And while the ride itself was amazing, more so was the chance to experience just a little bit of what his father Nathan McElroy went through when he served aboard a similar airplane in World War II.

Gary was gifted a ride in the B-17 during a recent gathering in Urbana; his family had seen the opportunity advertised and purchased a ticket, so he could participate.

“It was neat to see what my dad actually flew in,” he said. “It was just amazing to be in the same type of plane he was in and to realize just a very little bit what he went through …it was a really thrilling experience.”

The 30-minute ride afforded Gary the opportunity to visit the different areas of the plane; during takeoff he sat in the...

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