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3/20/2017 5:03:23 PM
Posted: 10/31/2001 1:14:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/31/2001 1:38:30 PM EDT by dbrowne1]
Went for a flight on a B-24 last Saturday with my grandfather (Lt. Col. USAF, ret.) who flew 27 missions in the pacific in these as a pilot with the 5th AF, along with my father (his son) and aunt. A fabulous and humbling experience, and a surprisingly smooth flight. Much better than the commercial 2 engine prop planes I've flown on. This plane is owned by the Collings Foundation, and they own a B-17 that flew next to us and a whole bunch of other military planes. Here are some pics (if I can get this to work): [URL]http://albums.photopoint.com/j/AlbumIndex?u=1797252&a=13936944[/URL] Coolest part was that we could go ANYWHERE in the plane during flight except the immediate cockpit area. I was crawling all over that sucker while buzzing along at 1200 feet. I had to climb over the nose gear doors (which only take 20 lbs of pressure to open from the inside...that was the bailout point for the bombardier and forward gunner) to get the bombardier shots. Kinda dangerous.
Link Posted: 10/31/2001 1:22:46 PM EDT
Okay.........
Link Posted: 10/31/2001 1:33:00 PM EDT
Now [b]that[/b] sounds like a cool flight! I think of how in WWII the skies of Europe was full of Liberators and the casualty rate was quite high compared to what I've seen in my short lifetime. Quite humbling that those guys went up there to drop less ordinance than what an F-16 fighter carries today. I remember working ground dispatch at San Francisco in about '92 and a B17 and a B24 had landed earlier that day and they were just heading out to the far runway to takeoff. For the next 20 minutes, the radio was full...I mean FULL of normally quiet pilots in sheer jubilation over these aircraft saying things like "those are some beautiful aircraft!" every 10-20 seconds. And the tower didn't tell them to keep the radio traffic down either, they joined in.
Link Posted: 10/31/2001 1:37:34 PM EDT
Awesome!!! I am just so jealous! The closest I've been was about 100 yards from a B-24, step inside a B-17, and watch a B-29 do a fly-over.
Link Posted: 10/31/2001 2:06:19 PM EDT
You`re very lucky......I envy your experience..............[:)]
Link Posted: 10/31/2001 2:19:00 PM EDT
Originally Posted By BlackandGreen: You`re very lucky......I envy your experience..............[:)]
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What he said!
Link Posted: 10/31/2001 2:23:21 PM EDT
Originally Posted By BlackandGreen: You`re very lucky......I envy your experience..............[:)]
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Yup, very lucky. They only take 8 people at a time, but you can look here: [URL]http://www.collingsfoundation.org[/URL] to see if these planes will be near you. I think it's like $300 for a flight, and you're up for about 40 minutes. Not cheap, but it costs $2000/hour to run these planes.
Link Posted: 10/31/2001 2:45:10 PM EDT
To Frickin cool, did it have a norden bombsight in it?? Benjamin
Link Posted: 10/31/2001 2:52:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/31/2001 2:53:49 PM EDT by Mean_Green]
You didn't ride on "a" B-24 Liberator. You flew on "THE" B-24 Liberator! It's the only one flying today as far as I know. Awesome machine! My dad flew on one before being shot down over Austria and doing 10 months in a POW camp. Awesome machine! (did I say that already?) I plan on seeing it again next year. Wish I could scrape the bucks together for a ride. That must have been a riot! MG
Link Posted: 10/31/2001 3:15:07 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/31/2001 3:24:04 PM EDT
I've been in a B17, one came to the airshow at the airport in my hometown. didn't take a ride (didn't feel like parting with $300)
Link Posted: 10/31/2001 3:24:22 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Mean_Green: You didn't ride on "a" B-24 Liberator. You flew on "THE" B-24 Liberator! It's the only one flying today as far as I know. Awesome machine.
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I think the Confederate Air Force has a working LB-30 (cargo plane that was based on the B-24), and there is a "taxiable" one in Australia. There is (or was) a second flying B-24 in Florida. Benjamin0001- Yup, photo 15 in the album I posted is a Norden.
Link Posted: 10/31/2001 3:24:37 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/31/2001 3:30:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By raf: Hey, congrats on a once-in-a-lifetime thrill. I was in one of these and a B-17 as well a few years ago... What a rush! I'm 6'3", and those airplanes are SMALL inside! The guys who flew these things in combat were gutsy guys indeed!
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I'm about 6'3" too, and that B-17 is SMALL inside! If any of you have ever seen "Memphis Belle", let me just say that it's a lot smaller in the real thing. The 24 was a lot better for someone my size. My granddad's co-pilot was even bigger than me, which ended up saving them one time. They had to crash land, and this guy's incredible strength is the only reason they could keep control of the plane. The control surfaces are operated by steel cables (you can see them in some of my interior photos)...no hydraulics except the flaps and wheels.
Link Posted: 10/31/2001 7:41:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/31/2001 7:37:44 PM EDT by Gopher]
Wow you are one lucky dude. I've been inside a 17 and a 24 and was shocked how small and narrow the 24 is inside. I would have hated to be the tail gunner. He had to take his chute off and climb through a tunnel to get to his guns. No thank you. for some more B-24 stuff check this out. [url]http://www.b24bestweb.com/[/url]
Link Posted: 10/31/2001 10:58:51 PM EDT
awesome. my grandfather was also in the 5th aaf 65th sqd 43d (lucky dicers) bg heavy. he was a bombardier in b-17s and then b-24s. there is at least one other b-24 that is flying it is named "strawberry bitch". i saw it at the oshkosh airshow years ago. i have been in a b-17 and a b-29 "fifi" at the time the ONLY opperational b29, i know they were restoring one at a north dakota air base a while ago..don't know if it's flying. i love those old planes.
Link Posted: 11/1/2001 1:10:11 PM EDT
Originally Posted By inferno715: awesome. my grandfather was also in the 5th aaf 65th sqd 43d (lucky dicers) bg heavy. he was a bombardier in b-17s and then b-24s. there is at least one other b-24 that is flying it is named "strawberry bitch". i saw it at the oshkosh airshow years ago. i have been in a b-17 and a b-29 "fifi" at the time the ONLY opperational b29, i know they were restoring one at a north dakota air base a while ago..don't know if it's flying. i love those old planes.
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Yeah, I think "Strawberry Bitch" is the one owned by the guy in Florida. That 29 is still, I think, the only one flying...and WOW would I love a ride on that one! One thing that struck me was how easy it would be to disable the 24. Those control cables (which you can see moving as the plane maneuvers) could have easily been snapped by a single enemy bullet or flak fragment piercing the skin. I guess that's no worse than hydraulics, though.
Link Posted: 11/1/2001 1:20:15 PM EDT
Link Posted: 11/1/2001 2:08:05 PM EDT
I used to live about 20 miles outside Paso Robles Ca. next to a lake. Every year there was a small air show but it got a fair number of planes. The flight path for the rides they would give was right over my house. They would also dropp to about 1000 or less over the lake. I would go out side and just watch the old fighters and bombers file over. A few of the fighters would play over the lake. I think watching them fly was almost as good as seeing them close up.
Link Posted: 11/1/2001 2:13:15 PM EDT
Yup, very lucky. They only take 8 people at a time, but you can look here: [URL]http://www.collingsfoundation.org[/URL] to see if these planes will be near you. I think it's like $300 for a flight, and you're up for about 40 minutes. Not cheap, but it costs $2000/hour to run these planes.[/quote] awsome caption under the main pic... about the demill of old surplus stuff
Link Posted: 11/1/2001 2:24:18 PM EDT
I've been aware of the Collings foundation for a few years and I've been wanting to take a flight, but something else always came up when the big birds were in my area. Maybe next year. What a great and rare experience, dbrowne!
Link Posted: 11/1/2001 2:29:41 PM EDT
Oh, great pictures too!
Link Posted: 11/1/2001 3:04:16 PM EDT
I had the pleasure of climbing in that B-24 here in Mesa, Az. My Grandfather flew on the original "Dragon and his Tail" in WW2. The 24 that is flying now isn't the original "Dragon", but a copy of the paint job. My grandfater has all kinds of pictures of himself in and around the "Dragon and his Tail" in the Pacific. He was a tail gunner in the 5th AF 65sqd 43bg(Kensman group). He flew on the 24's out of Clark AFB and then on the the B-32's toward the end of the war.
Link Posted: 11/1/2001 4:45:46 PM EDT
My dad was a right waist gunner in the 458th BG of the 8th AF stationed at Horsham St. Faith in England in early 1944. He flew 30 missions. The Liberator was a much more modern aircraft than the B-17 Flying Fortress. It would fly higher, faster and carry a larger load that the Fort...but it could not take the damage the Fort could. My dad said the B-24 had a nasty tendency to leak fuel into the fuselage...so they always were careful to smell for it and put out the smoking lamp if they smelled gas. One mission, he was coming back to England all shot up with two engines out...over the channel, low altitude, trying to be as invisible as possible, when he saw a single fighter diving down at them from far away to the starboard quarter. Figuring it was a Jerry ME-109 looking for an easy kill, the Old Man called out the fighter to the other gunners. Just as he about got into .50 cal range, the peashooter driver pulled out of his dive and turned right to show his profile, that of a Mustang. The Old Man was one happy camper. That Mustang driver followed them all the way back to their base in Norwich, weaving back and forth, guarding them...then peeled off to go home. Glad that dude was there...or I might not be here. Another time, after an especially long day, when the group was coming back home at dusk, they were attacked by a bunch of Jerry night fighters. The first indication the Old Man had that they were under attack was when the plane right next to them suddenly blew up! Then he saw the enemy ME-410 that had just shot down the other B-24 shooting at him...with the cannon rounds flying just below his plane...right about where the waist position was. He told me they looked like big fiery white golf balls flying at them. Although he was the armor gunner and knew better than to fire long bursts, he was so scared he just held the trigger down and the Kraut flew smack into the bullet stream as he roared below the Old Man's plane. The Old Man got lucky with his shooting, because he killed the Jerry pilot. Since they were only about 500 feet up...the Jerry crew never had a chance. The Old man went out the next day and they looked the wreck over. Funny thing: As the attack began, the tail turret gunner called out to the Old Man to come quick and help him put his Ma Deuce breeches back in! Seems the guy had a squeeze in town and he was trying to save time upon landing by dismantling his guns to save cleaning time before they landed! The Old Man told me he just yelled at the tail gunner over the intercom that he couldn't help him right at that minute, he was sort of busy! I got into the Strawberry Bitch once...amazing how small it was. Never could figure out how the Old Man and the other waist gunner stayed out of each other's way. Brave men and a brave and patient home front. I only hope we are as determined and brave as our parents were. [soapbox]
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