The Person Who Gave EAA Its B-17 − Bill Harrison

Published in Midwest Flyer – August/September 2020 issue

The late William (Bill) E. Harrison, EAA Lifetime Member (16556) and Warbirds Member (261), is the person who generously donated the B-17 “Aluminum Overcast” to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) in 1983. Harrison was a longtime member of EAA and its Warbirds of America Division, and had an indelible impact on the warbirds community. He served as a director of both organizations, president of Warbirds of America, and chairman of the EAA Museum Committee.

Born and raised in Waco, Texas, Harrison went to medical school in Houston before joining the U.S. Army. He served as a captain with the 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam War. After the war, he settled in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and practiced as an orthopedic surgeon at hospitals and, eventually, at his own practice.

Harrison learned to fly at age 16, and over the years he flew various warbirds to Oshkosh, ranging from bombers, to helicopters, to jets.

In addition to his work with EAA and Warbirds of America, Harrison served on the board of directors of the National Biplane Association and the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, and as president of the Unlimited Division of the National Championship Air Races in Reno. He established his own warbird aircraft restoration and sales businesses, Condor Aviation and Bluegoose Aviation. Harrison is enshrined in the EAA Warbirds Hall of Fame and was named “Oklahoma Aviator of the Year” in 1995.

Bill Harrison, 85, died peacefully, June 24, 2019 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, surrounded by family.

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