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Old planes don’t make it to S.L.

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A World War II B-17 Flying Fortress bomber didn't fly quite far enough Monday afternoon.

The B-17 and another historic war bird were supposed to land at the Salt Lake City Airport No. 2 but failed to arrive. The aircraft were en route from Nevada to a show in Colorado Springs, Colo., and were scheduled to be on display here through Thursday.Instead, to the disappointment of a crowd estimated at 400 or 500, the B-17 and a German counterpart - a Heinkel HE-111 bomber - were on the ground at the Carson City, Nev., airport.

David Barber, a West Jordan man who is a volunteer with the sponsoring group, the Confederate Air Force, said the Heinkel was slated to arrive in Salt Lake sometime Tuesday. But the B-17, the real star of the show, isn't coming.

Both planes took off from Carson City as planned Monday. But the B-17 developed engine trouble and both turned back. While they were on the ground, crewmen discovered that the Heinkel had brake trouble, requiring a delay while the brakes are repaired.

Engine trouble is fairly common for the B-17, Barber said. It could be anything from an oil seal failing to a blown cylinder. "I did hear that the propeller was damaged in some way, so it sounds like it's fairly serious," he said. "It's going to take a week to get it repaired and get it to its next venue."

On Monday, Barber said, he walked along the fence where people were waiting at Airport No. 2 and told the spectators about the delay. He also talked to people waiting in cars and "told everybody . . . what was going on."

Among those who were disappointed was Bob Van Velkinburgh, Kaysville, a B-17 gunner in 1944-45.

"It was supposed to land at noon and they came out and said there would be some delay until 2 o'clock," he said. "So we waited until 2 o'clock and it still hadn't shown up."

At 2:30, he said, an announcement said the planes were grounded in Carson City, so he went home.

"I was looking forward to seeing that ship I had flown in years and years ago," he said. A member of the 15th Air Force's 301st Bombardment Group, 352nd Squadron, he was based in Foggia, Italy. He flew 23 missions before the war ended in May 1945.