ITHACA, N.Y.(WENY)-- This weekend, The Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport is hosting their annual Airport day which will feature the historical B-17 Bomber. If you have never had the chance to see one of these planes in person, this weekend is your chance to check out this amazing piece of history. It is not only a great opportunity to see the bomber in person, but also to learn about its history. 

"When this aircraft was flying a critical role in World War II really allowing us to prevail in the war in Europe, it was crewed by teenagers, people in their young 20s who had no flight experience before they went to pilot training, there were 40,000 aircraft accidents in 1940," says Mike Hall, Airport Director for the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. 

Unfortunately, there are only a few of the B-17s left flying today not only because of the age of the planes, but because a lot of the aircraft did not make it.

"They built 12,731 of them, there was never more than 4,000 flying at anyone time because the other ones were destroyed.They lost a third of these to combat and they lost another third to training or weather related accidents," says Rex Gray, Aircraft Commander of the B-17. 

The crew that is manning the plane are all volunteers with a lot of flight time under their belts, and say they are privileged to not only fly this plane but to also keep the memory alive of all of those who lost their lives flying them. 

"Our official mission is promoting aviation which is also very important but I think our other mission is to recognize those other people from World War II," says Gray

If you are interested in seeing the B-17 and or just attending Airport Day, you can click here for more information