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philp

Scratch one off of the Bucket List

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So, Thursday afternoon at work my friend suddenly says "is there something odd about that plane?" So, I have to jump up to see what she is talking about. I get a view of a 4 engined propellor plane making a turn and dropping behind some trees, and that was it. But those engines and that tail, by golly, we have a B-17 making a visit.

Was going to swing by Airport 2 after work but ended up taking my daughter off to the Doc.

 

Later that night I remembered about the plane. A quick Google confirmed that Aluminum Overcast was in town for the weekend and offering rides www.b17.org. Cost is a bit steep but I have some insurance money from our life changing event earlier this year and figured Mike was looking out for Dad again.

 

Friday morning I drove past the airport and got this pic.

 

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Later that day I made a couple calls and secured a seat on the 10:15am flight Sunday morning. In case you don't know, the Fort is one of my all time favorite aircraft. I have read pretty much everything I can find on her. Built the old 72nd scale Revell and Airfix kits when I was young and they had place of pride in the ceiling air force.

 

So, this morning I was up early and ready to go. The airport is only about 5 minutes from my home so I was there by 9:15 for them to open the doors. Already a line by the time I showed up which proves I am not the only fan of the 17 in the area. Got my fee paid (which includes a year membership in the EAA) and my liability form signed so ready to go. Took a few pics of her on the tarmac before the flight (including some detail pics, hey, I am a modeler after all).

 

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Then it was time to strap in to one of the seats in the rear fuselage and prepare for takeoff with 3 crew and 9 other passengers. As soon as we were wheels up the Crew Chief gave us the thumbs up meaning we could unbuckle and move around. I shot some video during the flight and will see if I can get that online but did also get a few shots with my regular camera.

 

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Flight was only about 30 minutes but definitely worth it.

 

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Really, I am having fun. Just trying to actually take a picture of myself took some concentration.

 

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Here I am after the flight (and yes, I did make a couple purchases).

 

Rest of the pics are here.

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Congrats Phil! I can relate as I had a B-24 ride a few years back, and it was definitely worth it. For those of you with an interest in history and flying, I highly recommend it if you get the chance!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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As a fellow member of the "I've flown in a B-17" club, it was incredibly noisy, wasn't it? I couldn't get over how much the plane vibrated till the pilots got the engines warmed up and at flying revs....still, well worth the money for an experience of a lifetime!

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Ok, finally got the video uploaded thanks to the help of my son.

 

 

Not the greatest quality video ever but don't think I did that bad.

 

You asked how noisy it was, it got pretty loud but mostly when they were getting ready for take off. Once we were flying it didn't seem nearly as bad.

However, this little flight gave me a whole new appreciation for the young men that crewed these in the skies over Europe and the Pacific. Plane was very cramped and not the easiest place to move around. Can't even imagine how it would have been in the cold at altitude with bulky flight gear. And I saw very little armor plate, just a panel below each waist gun and that was it.

 

Now got to see if someone makes decals for it in 72nd scale as I would love to put one of the new Revell kits in these markings with suitably modified interior.

 

We couldn't go in the tail or ball turret but had the run of the rest of the plane. There is video shot by me while on the flight deck. Took me a minute to notice the turret above me. Yep, no internal workings for it. From the outside looks just like a turret but on the inside, not even breeches for the guns. Does give more room for the Crew Chief to stand and for people to get back and forth while in flight.

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Phil,

_ Whadda ya mean, "....not the greatest quality"? It almost felt like I was there with you and Mike. That looked like an awesome experience that I might never get to have, except for your posting of the video. Thank you very much for sharing your time with us. :smiley20::smiley14::smiley31: And those props in the video look funky/cool. Something that Salvador Dali would be proud of. :smiley4::smiley8:

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Phil, I think you mentioned the best reason to take the ride; a DEEP appreciation for what those guys went through!

 

I came away with the exact same feeling after my ride. It was tough to move about the airplane without bumping into something that would bruise or cut you, and all we were doing was flying low, slow, and steady, without the worry of being fired at! Add the cold at altitude, the bulky flight gear, the need for oxygen, and flying with evasive maneuvers and it was tough just to man a position! Also, a quick glance tells you just how exposed they must have felt, with nothing more than some aluminum that's not much thicker than coke cans between them and shrapnel, bullets, and cannon fire.

 

It's not a cheap ride, but you will come away with the experience of a lifetime, and a better understanding of how much courage it took just to climb in and take off, let alone go to combat in one of those bombers!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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