29 May 2005 EU Grounds Flying Fortress
Speaking of the EU, here’s another reason not to like it:
A World War II Flying Fortress cannot make a flypast at a tribute for America’s war dead [May 30] because of barmy EU insurance rules.Sally B, Britain’s last flying B-17, was due to take part in the Memorial Day event at the American military cemetery at Madingley near Cambridge.
Thousands of American airmen laid to rest in the cemetery’s graves once flew in B-17 bombers and of the 45,000 US air crew who lost their lives over Europe in WWII most took off from British bases.
But thanks to Brussels, much-loved Sally B, is now in the same insurance category as a passenger jet.
This month the new aircraft insurance rules sent her annual premium soaring 50 per cent by an unaffordable £25,000 and she has been grounded ever since.
Sally B, which is operated by a charity and based at the Imperial War Museum’s aviation collection at Duxford, has already been forced to miss Victory in Europe commemorations in Southampton.
It costs £300,000 to keep her airborne each year and she is paid an ‘appearance fee’ for flypasts.
If she does not fly again soon, her operators fear they will have no choice but to sell her to American collectors.
Their spokesman Sean Maffett said that Sally B had flown on Memorial Day for the last 30 years. He said it was “ironic” that she had now been grounded by Brussels bureaucrats.
He said: “It is quite extraordinary and ironic that this year because of European bureaucracy, which would not even exist but for the B-17, Sally B will not be flying.
“Even when Sally B is on training flights from Duxford, she tries to fly over the cemetery at least once because it means so much to anyone there to look up and see her…
Read the entire article, from Britain’s Life Style Extra, here.A tip of the hat to Dr. Eamonn Butler of Britain’s Adam Smith Institute for alerting me to this story in a blog post he wrote on the excellent Adam Smith Institute Blog. Butler’s post on the Flying Fortress is accessible here.