WATCH: World War II Bomber Flight Over Tampa Bay

Nov 4, 2012

William Yepes, a World War II bombardier, sits in the nose of the B-17 bomber during its flight over Tampa Bay.
Credit Alex Cook / WUSF News

The "Memphis Belle," a replica World War II B-17 bomber flew over Tampa Bay today, carrying a bombardier who served aboard a similar craft for 28 missions over war-torn Germany.  

"I couldn't control myself.  I was on the plane and tears came to my eyes.  I was thinking of all the men we lost," said William Yepes, after a ride in his familiar station in the nose of the plane.

The non-profit group The Liberty Foundation ran the flight.  Pilot John Shuttleworth said that over 23,000 airmen were killed aboard the iconic "Flying Fortress" bombers.

"The airplane really signifies our commitment and sacrifice during World War II, and that's what it's our joy to share," said Shuttleworth.

The bomber will be available for tours and rides at the Tampa Executive Airport this weekend, just in time for Veteran's Day.  

More information on how to reserve a ride can be found at or by calling (918)340-0243.

See the plane in flight, and hear more from Yepes and Shuttleworth, in the video below.