We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Tuesday, October 9. 2012
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Is that plane painted up as one of the ones that was covered with the signatures of the War Bond Buyers that paid for her?
That is N7227C, 'Texas Raiders,' restored and flown by the Commemorative Air Force.
I've never seen a picture of a B-17 or B-24 in that kind of camo pattern. Olive green or unpainted aluminum is all I've seen.
And it doesn't look like the pic at their website:
She was around 2000' --the apparant 500' in the pic is me, zooming and expanding in the computer. I got around 20 pix, all backlit by the sky and colorless without tapping the 'saturate' key a few times. Also trying to bring up the nose art --to little avail.
After i'd already put the text on that pic and sent it to family (dad was a WW2 B-17 driver) --and to BD, who copes better with pics that have no horizontal horizon lines --I bing-searched [ b-17 vp ] ... and found a wiki on her, with a pic of her upper surfaces and scroll way down on this incredibly detailed wiki, see her under tow on a runway. here's a dab of quote from the article:
Commemorating the 381st Bomb Group Triangle LTexas Raiders is currently painted in the combat colors commemorating the U.S. Army Air Corps’ 8th Air Force, 1st Bomb Wing/1st Air Division; 1st Combat Bombardment Wing "triangle"; 381st Bombardment Group (Heavy) “L", 533rd Bombardment Squadron's "VP" plane "hull number" "X". She now retains her proper original Douglas factory serial number, 44-83872.
The 381st Bombardment Group was formed at Pyote Air Force Base, Texas which was nicknamed the “Rattlesnake Bomber Base” due to the amount of snakes in the area. After training in the U.S., the 381st was assigned to USAAF Station 167, Ridgewell Airfield in Essex, England, where they amassed a very impressive unit history. The 533rd Bomb Squadron’s callsign was “Tabby”, so these aircraft would have been known as “Tabby X-Ray”.
The original B-17 coded VP-X was Boeing B-17F serial 42-29983, named "Iris", and later named "Uncle Sammy". She was lost on August 17th of 1943. Douglas built B-17G serial 42-37719 was named “Dinah Mite” for a time and then “Hellcat”. She was lost on January 11th of 1944. Lockheed Vega built B-17G, serial 42-97503 was named "Princess Pat". She was listed as salvaged on 3/25/45. The last VP-X was Boeing B-17G serial number 43-39300, which retired back to the United States in May 1945.
Lesson for me --always have the camera handy. I just happened to, thinking i'd catch a pair of hawks that seem to be nesting back of that hill.
So Saturday i'm running a loud saw, cutting trash junipers, didn't hear the four wright-cyclones, and just happened to look up and just above the further horizon in the notch made by the dirt road i'm parked on, in that brief little piece of sky, about a mile away, what looked like a B-17 sillouhette flying away from me.
i kill the saw, shaking my head, wishing to heck i'd caught a pic of that tiny blob in the distance.
i wander back to the truck where my nikon is stowed and am chugging some iced tea when behind the trees about 90 degrees from where the tiny blob had disappeared, that sound starts rising --and then really rising, fast becoming a roar --those four 2000 hp engines --dropping the tea jug and grabbing the camera, thinking i'm the luckiest B-17-lover in the world, there she came, she had been making a turn over the line of hills where i was, and over the tree line into the little patch of open blue over me, she flew right flat dab over my head!
Being the sole and only B-17-G left flying --- she's pretty easy to spot. ( It's the chin turret. )
She flew low and slow over Sacramento seven years ago...
And with her distinctive radials...
Was a dead give away even before she broke into view --- just about 500' up.
It's hard to imagine what a squadron sounded like.
actually, there are a number of B-17G still flying (ok don't know if they started as G's but now look like Gs)
I've flown on Colling's "9-0-9" twice (about $450 now). They also have a B-24 or B-25 if you like them better.
(also have 1/2 hr in the right seat - experience of a life-time - they don't do that anymore - thanks FAA)
Collings criss-cross the country on tour from ~Jan-Nov
check their schedule here (updates throughout the year):
you can also ride in the Sentimental Journey B-17G in AZ
or the "Aluminum Overcast"
The wiki referred to a couple times above
contains some links down at the bottom, one of which
has the dope on how to catch a ride on the pictured B-17G. It do offer a ride in the co-pilot seat, but could be the FAA ruling agin it came later or has a loophole --or the flyers are just (shhhh) ignoring it.
Blert --so glad you asked --you CAN approximate the sound. First you have to be a kid again, with full imagination ready at hand. Then you get right over the bass end of a piano and use both forearms to hit all the bass notes you can cover, white keys and black both at the same time. Hit 'em hard and hold 'em down (no need for the sustain pedal as you're holding themn down) --and as the volume of sound drains away, it sounds like a big formation in the far distance. I can state this with certainty, as i used to do it as a kid, and my dad, who flew an E model until the Me 110s got him on the last day of Big Week and sent him to Stalag Luft 1 for the rest of the war, said so!
--if you look at a map of Texas, run your eye about 50 miles west of Austin and a dab more north of San Antonio, and see the triangle inside three little burgs Dripping Springs, Blanco, and Johnson City (yes named after THAT Johnson family), that's Blanco county, stretched along a line of hills locally-known as the 'devil's backbone'. Up in there, on one o them hills, is where i hide, waiting, watching ....
Most of the Titan II and Minuteman Missile Wings were B-17 Groups reactivated. 381st was at McConnell AFB at Wichita KS.
After VE day and before VJ day, there was a plan to ship 1000 heavies from England to --i guess it would have been --Okinawa, to fight Japan. One can only imagine how popular that plan was with the 8th AAF combat crews -!
The Downfall ( Olympic & Coronet ) scheme planned on putting the bulk of the 8th AF on Kyushu ASAP.
It just wouldn't fit on Okinawa. (!)
On a summer afternoon in 1962 I stood in the back yard in rural Northeast Texas, lost in whatever thoughts a 16-YO has, when I heard a “pop-pop-pop” to the NE. I turned and saw a Nieuport fighter, flying SW at roughly 200 feet. I am not making this up. The Nieuport passed to my south, maybe 100 feet at that angle. It carried an Indianhead on the fuselage. I watched until it disappeared. I went into the kitchen and said to my mother, “A Nieuport fighter just flew over.” She said, “Really?” She had no idea what I was talking about.
LOL --our poor moms, had to cook dinner and talk fighter aircraft at the same time --
But really, what with all the first-gen Houston/Beaumont wildcatters that bought good grazing land and less heat-humidity in NE Texas, what you saw was probably some old retired eccentric with a producing well or two flying around in his expensive hobby.
I know that was a thrill for you, Mr. Larsen. Good for you, no one deserves it better.
--thanks XRay --every time i hear someone deserved something, comes up in mind the best scene in the best western since Ford and Wayne (and Ben Johnson) worked Monument Valley:
heh --words so few, every one of 'em hits home --as the Kid and the President both learnt --