Local veteran enjoys flight on historic war plane

2011-09-12T23:00:00Z 2015-01-26T21:26:21Z Local veteran enjoys flight on historic war planeMATTHEW GROVES matthew.groves@lee.net Ledger Independent
September 12, 2011 11:00 pm  • 

A local veteran got the chance to take flight recently on an historical American aircraft.

Richard Calland, 82, of Maysville, couldn't imagine a better way to spend a Friday afternoon than flying, or being around planes. For as long as Calland can remember, he's been enthralled by aircraft of all shapes and sizes.

A B-17G Flying Fortress, endearingly named "Aluminum Overcast" landed at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati recently, giving enthusiasts the opportunity to ride along for short flights, take pictures and enjoy the World War II aircraft. "Aluminum Overcast" was built in 1945 and is currently stationed out of Oshkosh, Wisc., and makes trips around the country, according to airport officials.

It wasn't easy for Calland to land the flight. The original event was scheduled for Thursday but a called received en route to the airport, stalled Callands hopes for another day. Not to be discouraged, the former Navy electrician set out again on Friday morning and with ideal weather and a "low cloud ceiling" was able to get in the air and tour the region.

Calland served in the Navy during the Korean War from 1948-1952 and served in Key West, Fla., as well as in Europe, serving on submarines. The Navy wasn't Calland's first choice in the armed forces. After missing the Air Force recruiter at a local post office numerous times, a Navy recruiter, who was conveniently there every time Calland came by, talked him into serving in that branch.

He remains in contact with some of the men he served with through email.

This was the second time Calland got to take a flight in the "Aluminum Overcast." The first was recently when the warplane was on a scheduled event in Lexington.

"That's something else, isn't it?" said Calland as he got off the plane.

In his 82 years, Calland has seen a lot happen to the U.S. and has lived through a lot of history. But what stuck out the most to him as the most significant?

"The attacks on Pearl Harbor," he said.

Calland recalls the events like they were yesterday.

"I was 12," he said. "And Dad was in bed after knee surgery when we caught word of what had happened."

Living through the Great Depression, the assassination of President Kennedy, the terrorists attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and multiple other events has made Calland's views on life change quite a bit. Nevertheless, he is proud to live here.

"Its still the greatest country in the world," he said.

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