The Very Special Reason a B-17 Bomber Was Flying Over Flint
Did you see it? Wednesday afternoon residents of the Flint area spotted a B-17 flying over the area, leading many to wondering what brought the legendary plane to the skies above.
The special flyover by a single B-17, that was a U.S. heavy bomber used during World War II, was to honor Fred McClellan. McClellan of Grand Blanc, 88, was the former owner of McClellan Aircraft Maintenance, and passed away Sunday, August 15. Known to many as “Mr. Airport", he was a noted aircraft mechanic and businessman, who was a fixture at Flint's Bishop International Airport for the majority of his life. The flyover was done as a special honor, for a special man.
According to Mlive, McClellan spend 50 years maintaining light aircraft at his business on the grounds at Bishop. Prior to that he ran the maintenance department at Flint Air. McClellan had also been a pilot himself since 1957.
Those who knew him admired his expertise to his craft and the man he was.
“His word was everything, and he was greatly respected by everyone,” said Dave McCredie, who was a customer and friend of McClellan since he earned his pilot’s license in 1959. “In the 1960s, 70s and 80s, we didn’t have an airport authority ... Fred was Mr. Airport.”
According to McCredie, McClellan's reputation was know outside of the Flint area with pilots turning to him for services from all over Michigan.
“There’s a trust that builds up between a pilot” and the person who maintains his aircraft, McCredie told Mlive. “You needed your aircraft repaired, they were the place to go.”
The special, and apropos flyover, was part of Wednesday’s memorial service for the United States Army veteran McClellan, and was arranged through Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti.
Rest in peace Mr. Airport.