Sunday, May 23, 2010

An Old Warbird

On Sunday 5/23/10 I had a chance to tour an old warbird...a WW2 vintage B-17 bomber. This is one of only a dozen still flying, and tours the US thoroughout the year. For $5.00 I could walk around and climb inside, which of course I did. For $400 I could go for a flight, but regrettably my budget wouldn't allow that

When I went to pay for the ground tour, the folks asked if I was a veteran. I said I was a Vietnam Era vet, and they gave me the admission for free. They finally accepted the $5.00 as a donation after I insisted, noting that this is a worthy reminder of a bygone era that we should not forget.

I also mentioned that this plane has special meaning to me. My mother saw hundreds fly over her house during WW2, when she was a young girl in Holland, and it was the sweetest sound to her.

Walking around this plane reminded me of one of my favorite TV programs growing up, "Twelve o'clock High", with Robert Lansing and later Paul Burke. This plane bristles with guns on all sides...hence it's name: the "Flying Fortress".

This aircraft is more than 65 years old, yet it still has a gracefulness about it.

This is a view out of the nose turret

This was taken from the midsection of the fuselage, looking through the bomb bay into the cockpit. People must have been skinnier in those days, because it was a tight fit squeezing through the two struts and walking along the little walkway.

This is in the midsection, looking down at the belly of the most vulnerable positions in the plane.

One of the mid-fuselage guns.

"Aluminum Overcast"...a fitting name.

I waited at the end of the runway from where I "thought" the bird would take off...obviously I was wrong. After waiting for almost half an hour (and I wasn't alone), I suddenly heard the roar of the engines. I jumped out of the car, just in time to see it lift off in a different direction. Still it was exhilarating to hear those pistons rumbling...not a sound one often hears.

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