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HelicopterOff Topics › My once in a lifetime B17 ride!
03-29-2005 07:19 PM  13 years agoPost 1
rob_jones

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Perry, GA

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I had a once in a lifetime chance to get a ride in a B17 from Americus, GA to Birmingham, AL! The plane is owned by the Collings Foundation and is on a nationwide tour along with a B25 and the only flying B24 in the world. If you want to see if they'll be in your area, here is the schedule:

http://collingsfoundation.org/cf_schedule-wof.htm

Through his media connections (he used to edit and publish the local newspaper), my brother got us each a seat on the transit flight to Birmingham. You can get a 30 minute ride at any of the tour stops, too. However they will cost you a $400 donation to the Collings Foundation. That may sound like a lot, but it costs over $3000/hr to fly the B17 and it is flown and maintained totally by volunteers.

Anyway, it was an awesome experience and really makes you respect the guys who climbed into these things and flew into harm's way. I can't imagine going on a 10+ hour flight at 25,000 feet with no pressurization.


The "Nine-O-Nine". This particular B17 didn't enter service until April 1945 and thus was never flown in any combat missions. It did serve as a fire-bomber and was used for research. Once it was purchased by the Collings Foundation and restored, it was painted as a replica of the original Nine-O-Nine that flew 140 (!) combat missions without an abort or crew fatality.


Another view of the Nine-O-Nine


My brother as the first 2,000HP radial is fired up.


Speaking of 2,000HP...


This could be France or Germany, but it's acutally central Georgia. We flew at 2000ft AGL and it was BUMPY. I might've gotten a little woozy.


View from the starboard waist gunner position.


Bombardier position and bomb sight.


The cockpit from just behind the bombardier.


My favorite view. This is from the open hatch just aft of the top turret. You could stick your head out for an awesome view! It's a bit breezy at 165MPH.


Taken from inside the top turret.

I have more pics, but that's all I've had time to edit so far.

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03-29-2005 08:01 PM  13 years agoPost 2
CRAZYKEV

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Cincinnati,Oh - U.S.A.

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Awsome pics! My Grandfather was a belly gunner in a B-17. My uncle recently looked up info on his 60+ missions and it's unbelievable that he lived through it! They say that his post was one of the most dangerous places to be, in that belly turret.

Kevin

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03-29-2005 08:02 PM  13 years agoPost 3
Ted Toth

rrElite Veteran

Myrtle Beach S.C.

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Great pictures
congrats
you will have some memories for life
I am jealous


.

You don't stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stopped laughing.

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03-29-2005 08:14 PM  13 years agoPost 4
rob_jones

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Perry, GA

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Yeah, the ball turret does not look like a happy place to be. And judging by the size of it, you can't be taller than about 5 feet to even fit in it. Not to mention that you'd have to share it with two 50 caliber machine guns. And to think that people volunteered for it!

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03-29-2005 08:24 PM  13 years agoPost 5
TurboRacer

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FL

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that's frickin awesome.

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03-29-2005 08:31 PM  13 years agoPost 6
Peter65

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Roxby Downs, South Australia.

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Glad to see you got your ride. I think we are all jealous

Laughing at yourself will lengthen your life. Laughing at me will shorten it...

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03-29-2005 08:36 PM  13 years agoPost 7
AndyH

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Rockledge, FL

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Wow! That looks awesome! Worth every penny I imagine.

I saw a flier going around offering rides in a B-17 out of Torrance Airport in SoCal - about the same price $400 or so. After looking at your pictures I think I might have to do it! Thats awesome!!!

I especially love the one out the nav bubble looking back at the pilots - and the bomabadier position! Talk about a view!

This hobby is like Kryptonite to chicks!

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03-29-2005 09:10 PM  13 years agoPost 8
Camp

rrApprentice

PA kinda. Mostly OTR driving

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Wow, that is an experience of a life time. Glad you got to go.

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03-29-2005 09:47 PM  13 years agoPost 9
rob_jones

rrKey Veteran

Perry, GA

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I saw a flier going around offering rides in a B-17 out of Torrance Airport in SoCal - about the same price $400 or so. After looking at your pictures I think I might have to do it! Thats awesome!!!
Yes, that's probably the same plane! If you look at the schedule I linked to, you can see when they'll be there. Look at the next stop and if you think you can get a ride home, you might get a seat on the transit flight like I did. That didn't cost anything, but I did make a small donation. The crew will be hanging around and you can talk to them. Just ask if they have any room on the flight to the next stop. There were two empty seats on my flight and they were looking for more people to go!

But even if you decide to pay for the 30 minute ride, it would be totally worth it. How often do you get a chance to ride in such a rare and important aircraft? I'm still in disbelief that (a) they're even flying it around in the first place, and (b) it's possible to get a ride.

There is nothing I can think of to compare to the sound of those engines at full power on takeoff. Simply awesome!

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03-30-2005 01:59 AM  13 years agoPost 10
cmartin

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Kouts IN

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Yup
Same ones that visit our airport in Indiana. Its something to see for sure.

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03-30-2005 03:28 AM  13 years agoPost 11
penggoy

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NY

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Im so jealous. AWESOME pics
hmm the pilot is sleepy and the copilot is already sleeping LOL (8th pic from top)

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03-30-2005 05:32 AM  13 years agoPost 12
Fullagas

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Michigan

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.
Great pics!

Now aren't you glad you went? What a piece of history. The way insurance and laws are going, that sort of thing is getting rarer each year. Good for you!

.

Flying helis since gyros had springs.

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03-30-2005 04:45 PM  13 years agoPost 13
Andrew_S

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Gaston, South Carolina

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That is AWESOME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Drewskie

www.congareeflyersinc.com

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03-30-2005 04:54 PM  13 years agoPost 14
rob_jones

rrKey Veteran

Perry, GA

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Now aren't you glad you went?
YES! It was even worth getting a little airsick!

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03-31-2005 08:53 PM  13 years agoPost 15
rob_jones

rrKey Veteran

Perry, GA

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More pics
More Pics

I've had a chance to edit a few of the 230+ shots that my brother took. Here are some of my favorites:


Me posing.


The preflight briefing. Wayne is suggesting that while we are moving around inside the airplane and looking for things to hold onto, that we refrain from grabbing any of the cables running along the ceiling. They are the control cables and whoever is grabbing them will be controlling the aircraft instead of the pilot. None of us grab any cables.

He also takes this opportunity to point out that the hatches are designed to be opened by pushing from the inside. So please don't lean on any of them while in flight. Good advice.


Passengers ready for takeoff! If any of you happen to watch the ABC show Lost, you might appreciate this little joke: The woman seated across from me is French. I kept wanting to ask her if she knew where the Black Rock is.


The Norden bomb sight. I tried to post a close-up shot of it, for some reason my FTP server keeps rejecting it. I tried renaming and resaving the file to no avail. I gave up for now, but may try again later.


Ahhhh, the wind in your hair. And Damn! Do I really look that goofy??

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