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 B-17 flight. Again. Someone help me.

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Juan Freizwidatt
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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 4:53 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Is there a 12-step program for warbird addiction? Shocked

I flew in yet another WWII B-17 bomber today, the second one in a month. That's now four different B-17s that I've flown in. (Plus a B-24.) I just can't get enough, it's an indescribable thrill.

This one was Nine-O-Nine, one of the most beautifully restored of all the 10 survivors that still fly. We took off at 5:30PM from Moffett Field at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, in Mountain View (Google's home - we flew right over their campus). Moffett field is an old military base which is now used by NASA, as well as the California Air National Guard. So it's still a restricted area.

The flight took us north over Silicon Valley, across the coastal range over Woodside and its multi-million dollar homes, looping around the dam at Crystal Springs Reservoir, and back down over Palo Alto. Alas, many of my pictures didn't come out. It was a very windy day, especially over the coast range, and the plane was heavily buffeted. It made for an exciting experience but many blurry photos since we were being bounced around inside the fuselage and I couldn't hold the camera steady much of the time. Interesting ride, to say the least. My previous flights have all been smooth. This gave me a small sense of what it would have been like to be bouncing around in flak bursts -- but without the fear of imminent injury or death.

Just a few pics:

Nine-O-Nine as seen through the waist gunner window of B-24 "Witchcraft", which also flew yesterday:

Image

Nine-O-Nine at the moment of lift-off:

Image

Soaring overhead:

Image

Sticking my head out the open top of the radio compartment as we depart the airport, with the wind blowing me at 100+ mph:

Image

Silicon Valley as seen through the top turret:

Image

Crystal Springs Reservoir, with a 50-caliber waist gunner's machine gun at the lower edge:

Image

Palo Alto, in the very heart of Silicon Valley (and home to Stanford):

Image

Nine-O-Nine has an interesting history. Like all of the B-17s that are flying today, it was manufactured late in the war and never saw combat. It was delivered to the AAF in April, 1945 and went on to serve primarily in South America and the Carribean. It returned to the US in 1952 and was sent to Nevada, where it served as a guinea pig for atomic bomb tests along with several other bombers and other military aircraft. The study was titled "Vulnerability of Parked Aircraft to Atomic Bombs". It went through 3 nuclear explosions, at varying distances from ground zero. It was damaged to greater or lesser extent in each, to the point where it was determined that it would require 5,274 man hours to repair it. After the tests it was towed into the desert to "cool off" and shed the radioactive contamination from the blasts.

It sat for 12 years before being declared safe, and was finally sold as surplus in 1965 for $269. But instead of being scrapped out, it was rebuilt and put into service as a fire-fighting tanker, like many of its brethren. It was retired in 1985 and sold to the Collings Foundation, who did a magnificent restoration back to the original WWII configuration, completed in July of 1987. It was named Nine-O-Nine in homage to the original Nine-O-Nine, a B-17G which completed 140 missions without a single crew injury. That is an astounding record. They also had a 100% completion rate: not once did the original Nine-O-Nine ever abort a mission. But it was so patched up from repaired battle damage that when it returned to the US it was unceremoniously cut to pieces and smelted. A sad fate for such a noble aircraft, but its legacy does carry on with the homage.

The existing Nine-O-Nine did have one serious incident. Barely a month after restoration was completed in 1987 it overshot the runway in high winds during landing and suffered massive damage in the resulting crash. Although there were multiple injuries among the crew, fortunately there were no fatalities. It took 5 years to re-restore the plane but in the 21 years since it went back in the air it has been almost continually on tour, traveling thousands of miles every year as it criss-crosses the country. It offers tens of thousands of people the opportunity to tour the plane on the ground, or, better yet, sign up for a 'flight experience' to get a small taste of what it was like for the young boys who flew these magnificent machines in the war.

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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 5:21 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The only known cure for Warbird Addiction.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcW_Ygs6hm0

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Juan Freizwidatt
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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 5:28 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Dang. All the planes I've flown in have carried bombs, but they're duds. What good is that?

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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 7:12 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Replace your addiction with another.

http://www.squadselectseries.com/

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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 8:02 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Fabulous Photos !!

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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 9:22 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Sounds like something you can use to frustrate lads especially when they are expecting a payday.

Delay tactic 1 wrote:
Whoops I just flew past Western Union it will be another 500 miles before I reach another one!


Then crash the plane into MoneyGram and the injuries obtain will have to make the payment until you have paid the entire MG staff's medical bills.


Delay tactic 2 wrote:
Mr. Gomer kidnaps your character by placing them into a Warbird that is on autopilot that purposes misses Western Union or Money and if this action is overridden then the said WU or MG explodes and you will have to find another one. Accompanying newspaper article could add more hilarity to it: "Western Union/MoneyGram terrorist strikes a fullforce!"



Delay tactic Safari wrote:
The luxury Warbird is complementary to your SS Camp premium park at the Namibia park (Benin, Senegal, Ghana, Liberia etc) and this is how you arrive into the safari camps. This is also the plane to evade the Gomers and how you are able to carry so much "money" with you. You could tell the lad to look out for this plane to pick him out at a undisclosed location at a certain time (which the lad will miss of course) and will have to wait for the next flight or end up taking the "safari bus" instead.


Just some ideas to use in your baits to aid your addiction. Wink

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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 10:12 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Drop in sometime and feed your habit.

http://www.airforcemuseum.com/

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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 10:41 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

More fantastic photos. We owe the crews of those aircraft so very much.

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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 10:44 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Oh, I fully intend to visit after I retire. But I'm waiting until they complete restoration of the original Memphis Belle, expected by 2015.

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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 2:01 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Very nice pics Juan! Can't help but notice though. The hangars look like lighter than air might go in them. I suspect it, the base, is or was used for that in the old days?

Is there a B17 operating somewhere between Orlando and Tampa, Florida? Swear I saw one down there once.

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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 4:05 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Good eye. Those are some of the largest hangers in the world, and were originally constructed for dirigibles. Here's some history. They are utterly immense.

Quote:
Moffett Field's "Hangar One" (built during the Depression era for the USS Macon) and the row of World War II blimp hangars are still some of the largest unsupported structures in the country. The airship hangar is constructed on a network of steel girders sheathed with galvanized steel. It rests firmly upon a reinforced pad anchored to concrete pilings. The floor covers eight acres (32,000 m²) and can accommodate Six (6) (360 feet x 160 feet) football fields. The airship hangar itself, measures 1,133 feet (343 m) long and 308 feet (93 m) wide. The building has aerodynamic architecture. Its walls curve upward and inward, to form an elongated dome 198 feet (60 m) high. The clam-shell doors were designed to reduce turbulence when the Macon moved in and out on windy days. The "orange peel" doors, weighing 500 tons (511.88 tonnes) each, are moved by their own 150 horsepower motors operated via an electrical control panel. The airship hangar's interior is so large that fog sometimes forms near the ceiling.


One of them is under massive restoration, stripped down to the skeleton. I'm not sure which number designation that one has. These have been landmarks for as long as I've lived here, and obviously decades before I arrived. I've never gotten so close-up before since I had no excuse to get through the security gate.

EDIT to add: There are no B-17s based in the Tampa/Orlando area but some of the aircraft that do national tours routinely visit there so you could very well have seen one of them. Within the last couple of months a B-17 named "Chuckie" flew over Tampa as part of an airshow. That one is based in Virginia and is privately owned. It doesn't carry passengers, more's the pity since I want to fly in every airworthy B-17 and that's one of them, but I don't have an inside track.

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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 2:40 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Here is something to help with your addiction,

Image

the Final Solution. Wink Laughing

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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:49 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^Pretty harsh!Laughing

Great photos again Juan. If you cannot fight the urge to have the most fun you can with your clothes on I suggest that you just give in to your addiction and get your private pilot's license. Its a great excuse to go flying once or twice a week instead of twice a month.

Just like crack dealers the FBO (Fixed-Base Operator) will heavily subsidize the first ride and your stick time will go towards your license.

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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 7:00 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Fantastic photos!

I've always loved those WWI and II planes, but I had to stick with the Airfix 1/72 scale models. Laughing

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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 7:55 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Great pics, Juan.
I have to admit that I'm rather jealous. Mr. Green

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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 9:12 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Yeah Juan just when the heck were you going to notify me so I could fly along?! Sheesh Laughing

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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 10:58 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Are we having the next Xmas Eater bash in a B17? You could have it fly over to Yurrup to pick the Euromods up.

Slightly can do the Dr Strangelove bomb riding thing.

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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:19 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^Now that would be something to see, a B-17 bombing the mods, Laughing

I just have birds bombing the car. Wink Laughing

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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 3:26 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I'm having no luck finding any restored, airworthy B-17s for sale so I guess I'll just have to build my own. I'm off to a good start. I have a complete original control unit for the autopilot assembly, which was mounted below the throttle controls:

Image

I have a data plate with serial number. That is a repro, but maybe I can get it past the FAA. Question

I also have an original PDI (Pilot Directional Indicator) gauge and a repro control yoke center (in the photo).

All I need now is a fuselage, wings, engines, machine guns, Norden bombsight, wheels, and a few other assemblies and I'll be set. I should be done in 20-30 years, if I can come up with twenty or thirty million dollars to finance the final assembly.

Anyone want to contribute?

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"SATAN WILL KILL YOU . BECAUSE YOU ARE A DAUGHTER OF MERMAID"

"HOW DOES IT SOUND TO YOU THAT ANOTHER PERSON IS DEALING WITH YOU AND ASK YOU TO CONTACT ANOTHER PERSON AND NOW YOU SAID THAT YOU WANT TO DEAL WITH THE OTHER PERSON WITHOUT THE KNOWING OF THE PERSON THAT ASK YOU TO CONTACT THE OTHER PERSON"

"please if you want your funds just pay me,!! pay me!! pay me!!"

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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 7:18 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Its your lucky day, it just so happens, that my great, great, grandfather has left me in his will which has passed down through the family to me, a hidden pirates treasure map.

The treasure has never been claimed, there is just the little matter of reaching the island in the Indies. Already have a boat.

Are you any good at navigation, that is the only member of the crew we are short off.

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Posts: 2457
Location: Behind the Oriental,taking potshots at hitlads.


PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:39 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Anyone her who likes B17's should try to catch the movie "Air Force" sometime.Pretty standard WW2 era movie,but the real star is a B17C.Bit of a different aircraft than the ones we are used to.No power turrets or tailgun position.Odd looking(to us) ventral "bathtub" gun.Much smaller tail.The B17C was phased out early in the war,and this in the only time I have ever seen one.

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Fuck off, and wait for your death, you fucking dog's eater, I will see this to the end, already, you are a fucking negativity to this world, go to hell after two puuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
Jack N0delay,hitlad

You have given me enough stress through the shit you sent to me
Jack the hitlad

What you sent to me is not real, don't you fucking understand simple english, that is not real slip from money gram, I have been using money gram before now, FUCK YOU. IDIOT. PLAY YOUR GAME WELL. MASTER OF ALL PLAYERS
Jack,the hitlad who keeps giving me fresh sig lines

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Roycropper
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Joined: 14 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:51 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I don't know if they are covering this story in the USA, but lots over here about attempts (unsuccessful so far) to recover a shot down Dornier D017, lying upside down underwater on Goodwin Sands

Image

LINK

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You go die like bird
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Juan Freizwidatt
Forum Admin


Joined: 18 Apr 2004
Posts: 19697
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:13 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I've yet to see anything about that in the general press here, but it's getting a lot of attention on a Warbird forum (as you might expect).

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Jeff
flaming nuisance


Joined: 28 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:44 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Very nice indeed Juan, half your luck. All I get is vultures circling over me.

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dr stephen williams
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Joined: 06 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:35 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I am envious. Looks like great fun.

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