B-17 Flying Fortress... bucket list

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by ruger9, Aug 31, 2019.

  1. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

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    For my 50th, my wife got me a ride on a Fortress.

    The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.

    Humbling.

    Sitting inside, feeling those engines rev up to take flight, feeling the wheels leave the ground, brings a tear to the eye... these crews, of 18-25 year old men... some of them BARELY men, taking to the skies for 8 hours, at 30,000 feet where it's -38F, suffering frostbite, fatigue, knowing the moment their fighter escorts had to turn back, they would be swarmed with German fighter intent on their destruction.... all alone, over Germany, praying they can get home... every mission.

    The Greatest Generation, indeed. THANK YOU.

    B17-1.jpg B17-2.jpg B17-3.jpg B17-4.jpg B17-5.jpg B17-6.jpg
     
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  2. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    Wow.

    Very nice.... !
     
  3. Recce

    Recce Friend of Leo's

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    Very nice Birthday Present.
     
  4. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    I have been inside a few of these WWII vintage crates. Never had a chance to fly in one though. My dad was a navigator on a B24 Liberator during the war. Never talked about it though. He spent the rest of his life trying to forget about it. I think the experience affected him till the day he died.
    The guys that flew these crates had bigger balls than anybody I know. God bless every one of them.
     
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  5. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

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    The B-24... "the Flying Coffin", so nicknamed because it was hard to fly, handled like a pig. My dad was a rear gunner in Dauntless dive bombers and Helldivers. It's funny, my dad had no problems telling war stories... but many do. I've never really figured that out. And my dad had "battle fatigue" (that's what they called PTSD back then), by then end of the war (he went in before Pearl Harbor, and wasn't discharged until after Japanese surrender). He was in hospital for BF at the surrender, and they were going to send him back, and he told them "I'm not gong back- you can send me to the brig, but I'm not going back. I've done my duty." They honorably discharged him.
     
  6. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Holic

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    Great pics, thanks.
    Those WW2 planes running with valve technology.....sheesh...
     
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  7. verb boten

    verb boten Tele-Holic

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    I'd love to check out a B17! I rode in something similar in vietnam, from way down south to way up north but set up for paratroops (seats down both sides). Noisy! Couldn't hear yourself think.
     
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  8. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Meister

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    I was part of a volunteer maintenance group for a Lockheed Ventura and you're right. When those radials fire up, it's 1000% testosterone cranking stuff! Nothing else like it. Very awesome experience indeed.
     
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  9. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    My father didn't talk much about it until he was on his death bed. He had what they called "nervous from the service". PTSD by any account, untreated for the rest of his life . What he kept to himself for 50+ years probably would have made me nuts.
    It wasn't till the end that I finally under stood his behavior and outlook. Especially since around 78% of the people that were in his outfit never made it back. Some of these guys carried an anchor on their back for a lot of years.
     
  10. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Some people are into muscle cars, I'm into muscle PLANES! Nothing like the sound of a big ol' radial engine... with honorable mentions given to the in-lines of the Spitfire and Mustang ;)

    The B-17 wasn't that loud inside; altho one of my co-passengers had just gone up in the B-25 Mitchell, and said it was DEAFENING! On the Mitchell they required you to wear hearing protection, not so on the B-17.
     
  11. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

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    My dad also knew quite a few people who never made it back. And if he sat and thought about it, it would bother him. But I've never understood how some guys had no problems talking about it, while other refused to. I guess it's just the way different people are wired. Just like any normal human in today's world who won't tell you about his troubles at work, or in his family, while another person will have no problem talking about it.
     
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  12. verb boten

    verb boten Tele-Holic

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    I'm no expert but i think it is directly related to how much it bothers a vet, the memories of what they went thru. Some guys just let life "roll off their backs" and are rarely bothered for long with bad experiences, others dwell on it in their minds, especially if they lost close friends.
    Similar in the vietnam war: some vets wouldn't talk while others could relate their experience with no problems.
     
  13. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Meister

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    France had some B-17 in the past, reconverted to photographic flying platforms, used by the IGN (Institut Geographique National), notably to photography all the French territory, between 1947 and 1989, with up to 13 units total.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    AFAIK, one is at the Musée National de l'Air du Bourget (Paris).

    [​IMG]

    Some returned to USA, bought by collectors, the rest was scrapped.

    -tbln
     
  14. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

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    My dad was a B17 navigator in WWII. He was parked right behind that nose window shooting sun and stars for position and relaying coordinates to the pilot. Several scary stories about dodging flac. One funny story about his off time when they made a whiskey run to the Azores to re-stock the officers club. I guess the Azores were a supply depot.

    He used to tell people he flew weather reconnaissance over the English channel. People would ask him "How do you tell weather" to which he would reply "I have to look in her eyes". Old world war II joke.

    I still have his officers jacket from the war and a few of his medals. He was 23 at the time of the end of the war.
     
  15. Stubee

    Stubee Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Very cool! My father was a B-17 bombardier and my family “bought me a flight” for Christmas but I had to book it. Other family priorities have got in the way if I wasn’t going to just go to the field alone so far. There is one flight left this season that could work but it’s on the same day as a HS football game ‘must attend’ about 2.5 hours from the airport, and flight times aren’t determined until flight day.
     
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  16. Deeve

    Deeve Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    yes, these crews were young men

    This spring Mrs Deeve and I went to a screening of some restored footage from the Memphis Belle bond-raising movie.

    The film was called Cold Blue, iirc.
    Included interviews w/ surviving crewmembers - yes, they were boys @ the time.

    Deep respect - Deeve
     
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  17. slauson slim

    slauson slim Friend of Leo's

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    Ruger9-diggin’ the AVG t-shirt.

    I got into a B-17 and realized how tight and small it was inside. I thought how tough it was to fly in one bucking and moving around in flight.

    My father was a radioman/gunner and LORAN operator in the Western Pacific. He never talked about his WWII experiences, and all his records were lost or destroyed so it is impossible to reconstruct his service.
     
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  18. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    My Uncle Al was a C47 pilot flying "The Hump"--the Himalayas--in the China/Burma theater. A fearless guy. Had a part-time job as a repo man for decades after the war. Guns pointed in his face, people setting their dogs on him, not a big deal. He'd laugh it off. But on the rare times that he talked about the War, including when he was shot down far behind Japanese lines, he'd tremble and sweat and nearly puke.

    My stepdad, a sergeant in Patton's 3rd Army, also almost never spoke about the War. But hearing his nightmares over the years, I could piece together what he'd been through.

    Both men, when I thanked them, would wave it off with "We just did what we had to do," with my Uncle Al adding, "to stop as much cruelty as we could."

    Puts a lot of things in perspective, indeed.....
     
  19. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Holic

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    Lucky you!!!

    My first flight as a passenger was in a Beech H18
    [​IMG]

    The first plane I flew2 was an L19 Bird Dog
    [​IMG]

    And my first flight on a military transport was in a Douglas C-124 Globemaster II (with four 3800 hp, 28 cylinder Wasp Major radial engines!)
    [​IMG]

    But the B-17 is my multi-engine first love. I've visited and crawled through several but I've never flown in one. Bucket list.
    [​IMG]

    Bob
     
  20. JMac52

    JMac52 Tele-Meister

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    My Dad flew 25 B-17 missions over Europe (his plane was named Pistol Pakin’ Mama). He went on to a career as a commercial pilot, flying a 727 when he retired. He didn’t talk much about the war until late in his life. We got him to write a memoir and do some recorded interviews. The stories are amazing and include his returning to base with a live round in his fuel tank, not having enough fuel (on paper) to complete a mission (“you have enough fuel to get to the target, right?”) and being escorted by Tuskegee Airmen.

    There is an airport about a mile from my house that hosts a B-17 on a seasonal basis. I get to think of my Dad every time it flies over. My wife got me a ride on it. I can only describe it as a very spiritual experience.
     
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