Elite Ayrshire Business Circle marks Liberty Belle’s visit to Prestwick
THE Liberty Belle B-17 Flying Fortress roared out of the clouds and in a spectacular manoeuvre turned on its side in salute and at low altitude swept imperiously across the tarmac of Glasgow Prestwick Airport before landing safely outside the terminal of private jet charter and aircraft handling company Ocean Sky.
[ClickPress, Sun Jul 06 2008] THE Liberty Belle B-17 Flying Fortress roared out of the clouds and in a spectacular manoeuvre turned on its side in salute and at low altitude swept imperiously across the tarmac of Glasgow Prestwick Airport before landing safely outside the terminal of private jet charter and aircraft handling company Ocean Sky.
The veteran American bomber aircraft made an overnight stop in Ayrshire as part of its 7,800 mile European Tour from its home in Georgia, USA in honour of all veterans of World War II. Piloted by owner Don Brooks, the Liberty Belle was due to proceed to RAF Duxford in England, arriving on 4 July, American Independence Day.
The aircraft played a key role in the fight against Nazi Germany. It has had millions of dollars worth of restoration work performed over the last 20 years, and is one of the last B-17s still flying.
To mark the occasion of the Liberty Belle’s visit to Ayrshire, members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle presented the crew with two prints depicting famous aircraft associated with Scottish aviation history, autographed by the artist Professor Dugald Cameron.
Elite Ayrshire Business Circle managing director Murdoch MacDonald said: “I would like to thank Don Brooks and his crew on the professional and unflappably amiable way in which they dealt with the media and the welcoming crowds. This cannot have been easy after what must have been a long, cold and arduous journey.”
John Scott, MSP for Ayr, South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan and deputy leader Margaret Toner were at the airport to greet Don Brooks and the Liberty Belle crew.
John Scott MSP said: “This was a tremendous occasion, ably organised by Ocean Sky. It was an exciting evening for all of us privileged to be at Glasgow Prestwick Airport. The visit of the Liberty Belle brought back memories of a bygone era, and reminded us of the very special relationship that existed between Great Britain and the United States of America during the Second World War, and which still flourishes today. Seeing the Flying Fortress return to Prestwick was a fitting tribute to the bravery and commitment of the soldiers, sailors and airmen of our two countries during conflicts in the last century, and still evident in foreign wars today.”
Provost Sloan said: “It was an honour and a privilege to be included in the visit of the Liberty Belle, and it was thrilling to actually board the plane and see exactly the conditions the pilot and crew had to work under.
“Although from the outside the plane looks enormous, due to the four large engines and a huge wingspan, the inside told a very different story. It is long and skinny and reminds you of a cigar tube. The fuselage of the plane has no cladding to keep out the cold as in modern planes, and it must have been freezing. I understand the pilots wore ‘electric clothing’ that could be plugged in, to keep them warm!
“Congratulations go to Eddie Allison of Ocean Sky for organising the visit to honour all veterans of the second world war. People need to be reminded what our military personnel fought for, particularly in this day and age when we have troops based in war-torn countries.
“The choice of Prestwick to land the Liberty Belle was truly fitting, due to strong connection with the McIntyres and the Twin Pioneer. South Ayrshire Council really appreciated the publicity created by this wonderful old lady landing in Prestwick, and congratulations are extended to all who made this possible, and particularly to the crew who were delightful.”
Ocean Sky managing director Eddie Allison said: “Ocean Sky were tipped off that the Liberty Belle was planning a European trip several weeks ago. At that time they had planned to stop at another airfield, so we invited them to consider Prestwick. They agreed, and the result was this historic visit. It is extremely rare to see a B-17, and Ocean Sky were delighted to have hosted the visit.”
Aviation historian Professor Dugald Cameron added: “Boeing B-17s were a very common sight at Prestwick during and after the Second World War, both in US Army Air Force / USAF and Royal Air Force (Coastal Command) service.
“Many were serviced by Scottish Aviation Ltd at Prestwick, which later became British Aerospace, and then BAE SYSTEMS. In April 2006, the BAE SYSTEMS business unit was taken over by Spirit Aerosystems of Wichita, Kansas, USA.
“A few BA-17s could still be seen in the skies over Ayrshire in the early 1950s on search and rescue duties by the USAF.”
Together with Roderick Galbraith and Douglas Thomson, Professor Dugald Cameron is the co-author of the book “From Pilcher to the Planets” - an overview of Glasgow and the West of Scotland’s contribution to aviation as seen against the history of flight and a view of the art of engineering. Published by the University of Glasgow (2003).
Downloadable images of the Liberty Belle’s visit to Ayrshire, Scotland:
THE ELITE AYRSHIRE BUSINESS CIRCLE
The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle is an association formed last year of some of the top companies in Ayrshire.
Its purpose is to publicise its members, and to celebrate and promote the rich diversity of industry, commerce and business services available within the county boundaries of Ayrshire.
Members include the Clydesdale Bank, Ayr Racecourse and the Western House Hotel, and member company activities include building and construction, architectural practice, estate agency and land management, chartered accountancy, insurance broking, legal services, golf club management, marketing services and brand creation, web design and public relations consultancy.
For further information about The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle and to apply for membership, e-mail email@example.com
Founder members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle:
Clydesdale Bank http://www.cbonline.co.uk
Ayr Racecourse http://www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk
Western House Hotel http://www.westernhousehotel.co.uk
CKD Galbraith Property Consultants http://www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk
Frazer Coogans Solicitors http://www.frazercoogans.co.uk
Accident & Injury Claims Centre http://www.accidentclaims.com
MacKay Corporate Insurance Brokers http://www.mackaycorporate-brokers.com
Donald Ross Estate Agents: http://www.donaldross.co.uk
William Skinner & Son Building Contractors http://www.williamskinner.co.uk
Sinclair Scott Chartered Accountants http://www.sinclairscott.com
Paligap Creative Agency http://www.paligap.com
ARP Lorimer & Associates Architects http://www.arpl.co.uk
Brunston Castle Golf Club http://www.brunstoncastle.co.uk
Accident & Injury Claims Centre http://www.accidentclaims.com
Fouters Restaurant http://www.fouters.co.uk
Christie Financial Planning Ltd http://www.christiefp.com
Allison Lightbody Waddell Chartered Surveyors http://www.alwsurveyors.com
Kestrel Press http://www.kestrelpress.com
Fame Publicity Services Public Relations Consultancy http://www.famepublicity.co.uk
Easton Kitchens & Bathrooms
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Enquiries: Murdoch MacDonald
Telephone: 01292 281498
Mobile: 07833 667322
Issued on behalf of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle by Fame Publicity Services Public Relations Consultancy.