Flying on history
I've written a number of times that I'm a member of the 8th Air Force Historical Society, the guys who flew in WWII. This weekend we've brought in three of the surviving WWII bombers (owned by The Collings Foundation ) to Holman Field in St. Paul. Yesterday after they flew in the pilots let me do some minor work on the B-17. At the end of the day, the Chief Pilot Rob Collings put me on the last flight of the day on the B-17. It's my second time flying on the Flying Fortress. I took pictures of my second time flying history.
The B-17 nose canopy with the chin turret and cheek guns
Throttles and flaps
The Norden bomb sight
The bomb bay
"Flying the ball"- the ball turret or belly turret.
The B-24 , nose on. There were more B-24's produced than B-17's. The B-17 received the bulk of the publicity as it preceded the B-24 as America's first four engine heavy bomber. However, the B-24 flew faster and carried a heavier bomb load. Collings B-24 is the only fully operational B-24 flying.
Any how, come out to Holman Field Sunday and Monday. Walk around and see the planes. Talk to the men who flew them in combat. And for the ultimate, take a ride in history ($425 for a half hour flight). $10 and you can go through all three planes (The B-17 Flying Fortress. B-24 Liberator and B-25 Mitchell). You'll be at about 1,500 feet and in a shirt sleeve environment; not 25,000 feet and -50 degrees, breathing through an oxygen mask and wearing a flak helmet and a flask vest... and, of course no one will be trying to kill you.
So, come on out. It is certainly worth the trip. And time very well spent.