Sunday, September 1, 2013

B17s Galore!

Back in June we had a guest fly into the airport, Sentimental Journey. Being a WW2 warbird fan I made a pest of myself for the entire time it was here.

 Being a Studebaker guy one of the first things I checked was to see how many Studebaker powerplants it had,

3 out of the 4 were made in South Bend. During the war Studebaker was of the companies licensed to build them.
While it was here I made a couple connections that would pay off later.
This week I rolled into the shop and saw a familiar shape on the flight line, another B17, this time it was Aluminum Overcast. it was flying with 1 Studebaker.

 This time I remembered my camera when they were allowing folks inside.

Bombardiers area, would have had the best view of what was coming but during the war I doubt that was a good thing.
 Cockpit, note the Garmins on the dash. I thought they were cheating but then again I can understand why.
 Hidden above the bulkhead that leads to the bomb bay and waist gunners area they had this.

It was hooked into the com system and the Sirius was working.

Thru the bomb bay, being skinny was a bonus here.

 Radio operators area.
This is the top of the ball turret for the belly gunner, very cramped and had to be a terrifying spot to be during a bomb run.

Waist gunners spot. The only armor in the plane is under the guns here.
 Way back in the back is the tailgunners post.

It was a very enjoyable to see and board these aircraft but as I looked around it dawned on me that there were a whole bunch of men younger than me that flew into the great unknown on these things. Once they left the ground the real terror began and ahead of them was a hell that defies the imagination.
I cannot fathom what each and every trip must have been like. To say I have respect for those that served during that time is an understatement. I'm not sure I could do it and I don't see how they did.
Thankfully they pulled it off or our world would not be the place it is now.
I did use some of the connections I made on the first B17 to get our Studebaker out on the flight line for a quick photoshoot.
Its a 63 Lark, 6cyl/auto. Yeah its slow but it looks great and gets great mileage.

Sadly it leaves tomorrow and I'll be standing on the flight line to see it go. Rumor has it next spring we'll be having a Ford Trimotor. Cant wait!


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