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Posted: 8/30/2005 5:59:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/31/2005 2:12:00 PM EDT by m4_a3]
So I am out mowing the lawn this evening and all of a sudden, I hear the distinctive sound of big radial engines…and low to the ground as well. I look up and I see what I believe to be a B-24 Liberator. Now being a bit of a historic airplane geek, I am somewhat skeptical of my own observation, because I know there is supposedly only one flying aircraft in the entire world, and what would it be doing flying over rural Pennsylvania? Ten minutes later it makes a second pass, and this time I am sure. I run into the house to tell the wife, and she is like “Yeah and…”. I guess not everyone is a nerd like me. The long story short is I ended up driving to the county airport, which is only a mile or so from my house just in time to see it and a B-17 land.

Just a little history lesson for those who don’t know, 18,300 were produced during the second World War, making it the most produced aircraft of all time. What makes tonight truly incredible is that only three B-24’s survive in museums, and the one that landed here tonight is the only flying B-24 left in the world.



So here’s my dilemma. This aircraft is part of the Confederate Air Force. They will be here until 2:00 tomorrow afternoon. Starting at 9:00 they will be giving tours for $8.00 a head (which I’m totally going to) and $400.00 for a short flight onboard the B-24. The wife knowing what an airplane geek I am thinks I should spend the money for this once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m kind of on the fence about spending that kind of money. Opinions are welcome. What do you think I should do?
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:04:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By m4_a3:
Just a little history lesson for those who don’t know, 18,300 were produced during the second World War, making it the most produced aircraft of all time.




There were somehting like 35,000 ME109's made in WWII, I think it was the most produced aircraft ever.

I say spend the money.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:05:33 PM EDT
I flew on a B-17 ('Aluminum Overcast') just before 9/11. It cost something like $300.00 for a 45 minute flight, then we had hours on the ground to get up close and personal with the plane. Awesome experience. I'll have to post some pics of that...
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:05:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By m4_a3:
So I am out mowing the lawn this evening and all of a sudden, I hear the distinctive sound of big radial engines…and low to the ground as well. I look up and I see what I believe to be a B-24 Liberator. Now being a bit of a historic airplane geek, I am somewhat skeptical of my own observation, because I know there is supposedly only one flying aircraft in the entire world, and what would it be doing flying over rural Pennsylvania? Ten minutes later it makes a second pass, and this time I am sure. I run into the house to tell the wife, and she is like “Yeah and…”. I guess not everyone is a nerd like me. The long story short is I ended up driving to the county airport, which is only a mile or so from my house just in time to see it and a B-17 land.

Just a little history lesson for those who don’t know, 18,300 were produced during the second World War, making it the most produced aircraft of all time. What makes tonight truly incredible is that only three B-24’s survive in museums, and the one that landed here tonight is the only flying B-24 left in the world.

photos.ar15.com/ImageGallery/Attachments/DownloadAttach.asp?iImageUnq=41190

So here’s my dilemma. This aircraft is part of the Confederate Air Force. They will be here until 2:00 tomorrow afternoon. Starting at 9:00 they will be giving tours for $8.00 a head (which I’m totally going to) and $400.00 for a short flight onboard the B-24. The wife knowing what an airplane geek I am thinks I should spend the money for this once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m kind of on the fence about spending that kind of money. Opinions are welcome. What do you think I should do?



The opportunity may never come your way again. The Liberator could crash tomorrow and in that split second, it will be lost forever. I say take it.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:05:35 PM EDT
For the B-17 lovers...

Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:05:56 PM EDT
$400 !!! Wow.


... but, on the other hand,


B-24 Liberator !!! Wow.



It's a tough call. If it's the only one in the world, I'd be sorely tempted! But $400 per head is a lot of cash for a ride. How long a ride, and do you get to go everywhere during the ride? If they let me sit in the co-pilot seat during the ride, and climb into the gunner's seats and stuff like that - I'd totally do it. but if they just make you sit strapped in some seat with a crappy view, I would not do it.

I guess it depends just how much of a airplane fanatic you are - and how much $400 is to you. If it's something you really love, you'll probably kick yourself later for NOT doing it.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:08:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sumo2000:

Originally Posted By m4_a3:
Just a little history lesson for those who don’t know, 18,300 were produced during the second World War, making it the most produced aircraft of all time.




There were somehting like 35,000 ME109's made in WWII, I think it was the most produced aircraft ever.

I say spend the money.



My mistake...I meant to say the most produced U.S. aircraft of all time.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:10:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
$400 !!! Wow.


... but, on the other hand,


B-24 Liberator !!! Wow.



It's a tough call. If it's the only one in the world, I'd be sorely tempted! But $400 per head is a lot of cash for a ride. How long a ride, and do you get to go everywhere during the ride? If they let me sit in the co-pilot seat during the ride, and climb into the gunner's seats and stuff like that - I'd totally do it. but if they just make you sit strapped in some seat with a crappy view, I would not do it.

I guess it depends just how much of a airplane fanatic you are - and how much $400 is to you. If it's something you really love, you'll probably kick yourself later for NOT doing it.



Passengers are free to move about the aircraft once it is airborne...
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:10:58 PM EDT
I live in PA on breaks from grad school in VA.

If you do not go, next break I'm coming to your house with a stick.

It's $400 to ride in a damn B-24! Get on the goddamn plane!
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:13:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/30/2005 6:17:33 PM EDT by JB69]
Did both a few years ago....... Probably the coolest thing I'll ever do in my lifetime.


Well worth the geech, considering I had it, back then...

And I don't think that's the only 24 still flying.... Unless it's the Collings Foundation's "Dragon and his tail" with a new paint job. I think the Confederate Airforce has a 24 flying as well still.

Not completely sure, but I think they still do....

Beautiful old birds, them.




ETA : yep.... it's the Dragon..... shame as the old paint job was incredibly cool.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:17:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By m4_a3:

Originally Posted By Sumo2000:

Originally Posted By m4_a3:
Just a little history lesson for those who don’t know, 18,300 were produced during the second World War, making it the most produced aircraft of all time.




There were somehting like 35,000 ME109's made in WWII, I think it was the most produced aircraft ever.

I say spend the money.



My mistake...I meant to say the most produced U.S. aircraft of all time.



How many Liberator variants? Could possibly be most produced VARIANT.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:19:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JB69:
Did both a few years ago....... Probably the coolest thing I'll ever do in my lifetime.


Well worth the geech, considering I had it, back then...

And I don't think that's the only 24 still flying.... Unless it's the Collings Foundation's "Dragon and his tail" with a new paint job. I think the Confederate Airforce has a 24 flying as well still.

Not completely sure, but I think they still do....

Beautiful old birds, them.




I'm quoting Stephen Ambrose's "The Wild Blue" from 2001 at that time only three remained in museums and one flying. I have heard rumors that some entrepreneur on the west coast is attempting to restore a second B-24, but I have never heard of or seen it fly.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:21:38 PM EDT

Some picage in the "Dragon" scheme.....






And their 17G, the "Nino O' Nine" Another beautiful plane.... MUCH nicer ride too, btw.



Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:23:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By m4_a3:


So here’s my dilemma. This aircraft is part of the Confederate Air Force.



Not any more, not for several years. The group is now called the Commemorative Air Force. PC is everywhere.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:23:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By m4_a3:

Originally Posted By JB69:
Did both a few years ago....... Probably the coolest thing I'll ever do in my lifetime.


Well worth the geech, considering I had it, back then...

And I don't think that's the only 24 still flying.... Unless it's the Collings Foundation's "Dragon and his tail" with a new paint job. I think the Confederate Airforce has a 24 flying as well still.

Not completely sure, but I think they still do....

Beautiful old birds, them.




I'm quoting Stephen Ambrose's "The Wild Blue" from 2001 at that time only three remained in museums and one flying. I have heard rumors that some entrepreneur on the west coast is attempting to restore a second B-24, but I have never heard of or seen it fly.




You're correct.... My bad, I wasn't aware that Collings repainted the Dragon recently... Just checked the website and saw it there. Fixed my first post
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:24:34 PM EDT
Nine O' Nine is the B-17 sitting next to the B-24... also the picture above.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:25:44 PM EDT
Hey M4-a3...they were just in NJ at the Mercer County airport...where are you in PA and does anyone know the shows schedule? I can't seem to find it on their website?

WBK
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:26:04 PM EDT
I saw the same one a few days ago.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:26:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JB69:

Originally Posted By m4_a3:

Originally Posted By JB69:
Did both a few years ago....... Probably the coolest thing I'll ever do in my lifetime.


Well worth the geech, considering I had it, back then...

And I don't think that's the only 24 still flying.... Unless it's the Collings Foundation's "Dragon and his tail" with a new paint job. I think the Confederate Airforce has a 24 flying as well still.

Not completely sure, but I think they still do....

Beautiful old birds, them.




I'm quoting Stephen Ambrose's "The Wild Blue" from 2001 at that time only three remained in museums and one flying. I have heard rumors that some entrepreneur on the west coast is attempting to restore a second B-24, but I have never heard of or seen it fly.




You're correct.... My bad, I wasn't aware that Collings repainted the Dragon recently... Just checked the website and saw it there. Fixed my first post



No harm no foul... I'm just spouting someone elses statistics.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:27:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By WeeBeastyKillr:
Hey M4-a3...they were just in NJ at the Mercer County airport...where are you in PA and does anyone know the shows schedule? I can't seem to find it on their website?

WBK




www.collingsfoundation.org/cf_schedule-wof.htm


Like Nike....... Just DO it !
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:28:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By WeeBeastyKillr:
Hey M4-a3...they were just in NJ at the Mercer County airport...where are you in PA and does anyone know the shows schedule? I can't seem to find it on their website?

WBK



Not sure...I only know they're at the Chester County airport until 1400 tomorrow.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:30:15 PM EDT
If you are going to fly in one, do it now while fuel is still relatively cheap. These planes guzzle down avgas like it's going out of style, and each flight costs thousands of dollars. 400 clams will seem pretty cheap next year, if things keep up in the price rise dept. ....
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:30:57 PM EDT
They go back to PA in october, bottom of page, linky above... VA and MD as well.....
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:38:43 PM EDT
I took the $400 flight on the 'Aluminum Overcast" a few years ago. My wife Ginger, bought me the ride. It was awesome. If you have the $$$, do it. You may never get another chance.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 8:54:31 PM EDT
If you 'aint German you are OK. Don't worry.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 9:03:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By m4_a3:

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
$400 !!! Wow.


... but, on the other hand,


B-24 Liberator !!! Wow.



It's a tough call. If it's the only one in the world, I'd be sorely tempted! But $400 per head is a lot of cash for a ride. How long a ride, and do you get to go everywhere during the ride? If they let me sit in the co-pilot seat during the ride, and climb into the gunner's seats and stuff like that - I'd totally do it. but if they just make you sit strapped in some seat with a crappy view, I would not do it.

I guess it depends just how much of a airplane fanatic you are - and how much $400 is to you. If it's something you really love, you'll probably kick yourself later for NOT doing it.



Passengers are free to move about the aircraft once it is airborne...




In that case, I'd do it.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 9:05:45 PM EDT
The money you can always replaced, the memories of flying in one of these old warbirds will make the money irrelevant.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 9:13:59 PM EDT
I say go for it.

You will kick yourself for not doing it.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 9:14:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/30/2005 9:16:03 PM EDT by JB69]

Originally Posted By brentwal:
The money you can always replace, the memories of flying in one of these old warbirds will make the money irrelevant.





That's the damned truth, brother ! I will never regret slapping the loot down that day.


It was SOOOOOO COOL, and worth EVERY CENT !

ETA: Especially so, since I got to ride with real live WWII bomber crew vets on BOTH planes.... Those guys' smiles will be etched in my memory for the rest of my days.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 9:14:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/30/2005 9:16:25 PM EDT by No4MK1]
I took a hop in Witchcraft this spring from Yakima Washington to Bremerton! It was amazing! We went over the mountains at 10,500 feet in zero visability (fog). It's pretty freaky sticking your head out of the side of a B-24 at that elevation when all you can see is the wing!

I have also had a couple of rides in Nine-O-Nine...

Click here for some pics of both my B-17 rides and the B-24.

www.scottbass.com/gallery.html



Cheers,
Chris

[edited to add pic]
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 9:15:08 PM EDT
The price sounds a little bit steep, but you will forever kick yourself in the ass for not taking the ONE chance that you have. I think that if you can afford the price, you will look back and view it as money well spent.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 9:15:59 PM EDT
definitely go.
I'm a cheapskate, and even I know it's a no brainer.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 9:20:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/30/2005 9:21:12 PM EDT by Shooter521]
At the Indianapolis Airshow last weekend, one could buy a ride in a B-17 or B-25, for about the same money. I didn't have that kind of $$ to burn, but if I did, I'd have done it in a heartbeat.



Link Posted: 8/30/2005 9:30:22 PM EDT

A nice story about a great man, Carl Clark. WWII B-17 Pathfinder Pilot, as well as part-timer flying the Nine O' Nine for Collings...


The Unforgettable Takeoff -- Reunion !


I spoke to Mr. Clark for some time the day I rode on the two planes. We chatted about the plane, and some of his experiences, as well as the amazing "Unforgettable Takeoff" story. REALLY nice guy..... I feel pretty fortunate to have, since he passed away less than a year later.....


Rest in peace, Sir...... And thank you..... I'll never forget that day, or you !

Link Posted: 8/30/2005 10:13:46 PM EDT

A couple more pics from my ride...











Link Posted: 8/30/2005 10:48:05 PM EDT
There's like 2 or 3 flying B-24s left. I've seen them at Oshkosh and other places. Diamond lil' is one of them. Strawberry bitch was the other (I think) if it's still around.

My grandfather was a bombardier in B-24s and B-17s in the Pacific. They're kick ass bombers!
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 11:05:52 PM EDT

Apparently "Diamond 'Lil" is really a LB-30 / C-87 and not a true B-24 (personally I feel this is picking serious nits though), and Strawberry Bitch is on static display.

Therefore Witchcraft is the last flyable B-24 in many peoples eyes.


Cheers,
Chris
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 11:12:30 PM EDT
Spend the money. What's four hundred bucks compared to a chance of a lifetime??? Who knows if this wonderful plane will be around much longer???
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 11:18:40 PM EDT
I did the ride in the B-24 back in 1999 ............It was well worth the $300.00
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 11:39:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/30/2005 11:42:02 PM EDT by PaDanby]
My Grandfather made the wind tunnel models for Consolidated for the tests at Caltech. He was a pattern maker and his brother did a lot of design engineering for them. Last I heard there are only 1 or 2 "real" B-24s flying and neither saw combat. There are several of the Navy single tail variants around and many of them were still flying until just a few years ago as water bombers.

They didn't have quite the cachet the Fortresses had at the end of the war and there was no real push to save them.

I heard the roar of radials the other day and a P2V-2 Ventura in what appeared to be Army Air Corps late WWII scheme flew over. That's the first of those I've ever seen (especially since IIRC only our Navy had them but the RAF and other AFs used them)
Link Posted: 8/31/2005 5:26:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By dpmmn:
I did the ride in the B-24 back in 1999 ............It was well worth the $300.00



See? $300 in 1999. $400 today. $700 next year. Do it now, while it's still cheap.
Link Posted: 8/31/2005 5:33:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Sumo2000:

Originally Posted By m4_a3:
Just a little history lesson for those who don’t know, 18,300 were produced during the second World War, making it the most produced aircraft of all time.




There were somehting like 35,000 ME109's made in WWII, I think it was the most produced aircraft ever.

I say spend the money.



Off the top of my head 52,000 IL-2's.
Link Posted: 8/31/2005 5:42:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JB69:
A nice story about a great man, Carl Clark. WWII B-17 Pathfinder Pilot, as well as part-timer flying the Nine O' Nine for Collings...


The Unforgettable Takeoff -- Reunion !






That is an amazing story. Utterly astonishing.






BTW I live two towns away from Stow, MA, drive through it every day on my way to and from work, and have never seen any of the Collings Foundation a/c flying around here. They store them somewhere else?
Link Posted: 8/31/2005 2:10:41 PM EDT
Well…some things are just not meant to be…at least not today. Being a weekday and what not, we couldn’t get enough people to sign up to take a hop. They need six minimum to make it economical. The wife and I took the day off and still partook in the tours of both aircraft. Still amazing to see! I am going to try to catch them in October when they return to the area. Schedule indicates that the B-25 will be on hand then as well. That should make my decision even more difficult. The appeal of riding in the only airworthy B-24 is pretty tremendous, especially after reading Ambrose’s book the Wild Blue. On the other hand, my grandfather who passed away 15 years ago, piloted B-25’s from Australia during the war. My sense of family pride and nostalgia will most likely win the day.

Anyway, here a couple more photos from today for those who are interested…

Me with Nine o Nine



Me with Witchcraft



Wore my Squadron JDAM “Shock & Awe” T-Shirt today. Thought it was appropriate…Today’s Shock & Awe with the original Shock & Awe.



Wife “Wo-Manning” the .50cal



…and lastly, my favorite photo of the day…


Link Posted: 8/31/2005 2:25:33 PM EDT
For $400 I would hope they let you run a belt through the Ma Duece...
Link Posted: 8/31/2005 2:42:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/31/2005 2:43:17 PM EDT by kk7sm]

Originally Posted By No4MK1:
I took a hop in Witchcraft this spring from Yakima Washington to Bremerton! It was amazing! We went over the mountains at 10,500 feet in zero visability (fog). It's pretty freaky sticking your head out of the side of a B-24 at that elevation when all you can see is the wing!



And you know I hate you, you and all your Enfields.

Me, in the waist gun position of Dragon and His Tail at Tumwater WA airshow (my grandfather was a radio operator and right waist gunner in a B24)

Link Posted: 8/31/2005 2:53:47 PM EDT
The Confedy Air Force made a stop here in Sioux City, IA and I spent the $$$ to get up B-17 warbird for about a 45 minute fly about. Talk about an awesome flight. I could almost picture my G'pa knet down on one knee beside me telling me about the different aspects of the flight during the flight. It was an awesome experience.

My G'pa flew the B-24 in combat early in the PTO theature in WWII , but he also had about %20 of his hours in a B-17 in non-combat situations. He loved flying the B-17 as he said it was a "much more forgiving bord, but the B-24 was the real Hell raiser."

{S} to all the folks responsible for upkeeping them wonderful peices of history. Thanks.

DONATE when you can.
Link Posted: 8/31/2005 9:59:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By kk7sm:

And you know I hate you, you and all your Enfields.

Me, in the waist gun position of Dragon and His Tail at Tumwater WA airshow (my grandfather was a radio operator and right waist gunner in a B24)



Well you know... Since my FIL flipped for a plane sponsership, we take a hop everytime they are in Washington... If you happen to be up here when they are, give me a shout and you can have my seat!

Cheers,
Chris
Link Posted: 8/31/2005 10:16:56 PM EDT
If it was my cash, I would ride in the B17. However, money would not be wasted on a ride in a B24.

B17>B24>anything else you might spend $400 on.



Go for it, or you WILL regret it.
Link Posted: 8/31/2005 10:21:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By No4MK1:
Apparently "Diamond 'Lil" is really a LB-30 / C-87 and not a true B-24 (personally I feel this is picking serious nits though), and Strawberry Bitch is on static display.

Therefore Witchcraft is the last flyable B-24 in many peoples eyes.


Cheers,
Chris

+1, but regardless the designation, they are of the correct type, and they ain't makin' new ones. At some point, the maintenance and liability issues involved in keeping these warriors airworthy will ground them forever. Fly in them if you have the chance! I'm waiting for the B-17 ride!
Link Posted: 8/31/2005 10:36:36 PM EDT
Do it... and pay extra for stick time.
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