Virgin Atlantic today announced that it is to sponsor Sally B, the last remaining airworthy B-17 in the UK, by covering the costs of the aircraft’s liability insurance to enable her to continue flying for the next three months.
Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic, commented:
“When we were told about the plight of Sally B everyone at Virgin Atlantic felt we ought to step in to save the day and keep this amazing aircraft flying. She represents a generation of aviation pioneers and also of brave aircrew who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom.
“I am honoured that Virgin Atlantic has ensured that the Sally B will take pride of place in the 60th Anniversary Flypast over Buckingham Palace this summer.”
Virgin Atlantic stepped in to help sponsor Sally B after new EU regulations meant that insurance costs had rocketed and supporters feared that, as a result, she would not be able to appear at a number of flying events in the coming months including her appearance at the 60th Anniversary of the end of the war at Buckingham Palace. It is also Sally B’s 60th birthday this year and so her appearance at Buckingham Palace is a landmark occasion for the aircraft. Sally B is permanently based at the Imperial War Museum Duxford where she is on static display.
Elly Sallingboe, B-17 Operator, said:
“So many have rallied to our aid - our members, the public, Lloyds of London underwriters and now Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Atlantic. The support has been completely overwhelming and gives me hope for the future of our aircraft. Now we must work on a long-term solution so that Sally B can continue to fly for the education and enjoyment of future generations.”