July 26, 2023

A dream to fly in the past

Jon Robinson

Crew member Jim Perry of Calgary had the bombardier seat in the B-17 warbird on its flight from Cranbrook to Penticton. (Photo: Mark Brett, Penticton Herald)

— By Mark Brett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Penticton Herald

Calgary’s Jim Perry was the lone Canadian crew member aboard this year’s visit to Penticton by the Commemorative Air Force warbirds.

The Calgary resident actually had his first flight aboard the Second World War B-17 Sentimental Journey several years ago in Mesa, Ariz. where he winters and where the warbirds Airbase Arizona Flying Museum is located.

“When I booked that flight on this aircraft in 2019, they were so professional and so accommodating I decided to join,” said Perry who spent the arrival flight from Cranbrook to Penticton in the coveted bombardier’s seat in the glassed-in nose of the B-17.

“It is just a dream to fly in this airplane. I just really love it,” he said.

Sentimental Journey arrived recently and was on static display for tours starting the following day.

It was joined at the Penticton Regional Airport’s Gate 88 on Thursday, July 20, by the B-25 Maid in the Shade as part of the Flying Legends of Victory Tour of Canada and the United States.

Flights for the public on the two aircraft continue through Sunday, July 23.

The tour is made possible through the efforts of volunteers like Perry.

Crew members attend ground school in the spring and spend up to several weeks of their summer on tour.

Perry’s job is that as one of the flight loadmasters, looking after passengers when the plane is airborne and pre-flight interior inspection.