1998.10.14: Aluminum Overcast B-17 flight
I’d been wanting to fly on one for years, and would have during my first B-17 experience at the Collings Foundations visit to Seattle if it hadn’t started raining! What does it cost? The going rate at the time was $300 for EAA members.
I took still photos and video. Unfortunately, the weather was hazy and a bit grey… so the photos reflect it.
The flight was great – I enjoyed it, I learned a lot, and I thought about a lot. I thought about the sacrifice and the bravery of the men who flew these into battle, what they’ve done for us, and what it must of been like back then – we’ll never know.
Just before the flight, I had read: “The Cold Blue Sky : A B-17 Gunner in World War Two”. Jack Novey. I highly recommend it. Additional recommended reading:
- “Bloody Skies – A 15th AAF B-17 Combat Crew: How They Lived and Died”. Melvin W. McGuire and Robert Hadley. Yucca Tree Press. If you are interested in B-17s or the air war in Europe, this book is probably the best first-hand survivor account you’ll find.
- “Flying Buccaneers : The Illustrated Story of Kenney’s Fifth Air Force” Steve. Birdsall. Out of print – copy located (thanks, Amazon.com).
- “Decision Over Schweinfurt: The U.S. 8th Air Force Battle for Daylight Bombing”. Out of print – (thanks, Amazon.com).
- Thirty Seconds over Tokyo: Ted Lawson, Bob Considine. Out of print – (I have it thanks to Amazon.com).
- “The Fall of Fortresses: A Personal Account of the Most Daring, and Deadly, American Air Battles of World War II” Elmer Bendiner. Out of print – (thanks, Amazon.com).
Postscript – since this first flight, I’ve flown in several additional B-17s, and even flew in this one for a second time. There is nothing like them – there is no other way to get the sounds and the feeling of what the heroes endured during WW2. Every flight has brought that feeling to me. But even after the flight, none of us will really know what it was like to go to war in one of these.