B-17

St. Louis On The Air
1:13 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

WWII B-17 Pilot: 'It Took All Of Us'

Col. Basil Hackleman flew 30 missions in B-17 bombers before training future pilots. He is the original pilot of the Nine-o-Nine.
Amanda Honigfort

During World War II, thousands of B-17 Flying Fortress bombers took to the skies daily. The planes were a crucial part of campaigns, from the bombing of Dresden to D-Day, and were flown by the likes of Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart and Lt. Col. Basil Hackleman.

Hackleman, who now lives in Springfield, Mo., was the original pilot of the Nine-o-Nine, a celebrated B-17 that is said to have never lost a crew member or abort a mission because of mechanical failure. The plane was scrapped after the war.

Read more
B-17 flight
6:25 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Navigator Flies Again, 68 Years After Final Mission

Capt. Don Nicholson watches from a window in the nose of the "Memphis Belle," a restored B-17 bomber.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

In September 1944, just nine days before his 23rd birthday, 1st Lt. Don Nicholson boarded the B-17 bomber known as “Little Chum” for a run over Germany. It was his 26th mission navigating the plane referred to as the "flying fortress."

Read more