October 14, 2010 Leave a Comment
March 12, 2013 Leave a Comment
Even if the Memphis Belle never flew during World War II, it can still give passengers a taste of what some members of the Greatest Generation experienced during the last world war. The famous Hollywood aircraft “Memphis Belle” is a restored WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber that was available Read more of this post
February 11, 2013 Leave a Comment
Ninety-two-year-old Lawrence Huschle, a World War II gunner who survived when his B-17 bomber was shot down over Germany in 1943 has been officially awarded a Purple Heart medal in St. Cloud. Read more of this post
February 5, 2013 Leave a Comment
Three vintage planes as part of the Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom tour was brought to the Boca Raton Airport last Feb 1-4. The planes are a Consolidated B-24 Liberator, a North American P-51 Mustang and Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Read more of this post
January 30, 2013 Leave a Comment
Though it has been almost 70 years since Marvin Goldberg flew in a B-17 bomber, the experience remained familiar when he traveled in one to the Sebring Regional Airport. When the plane’s engines started, he recalled those were the sounds he heard as a pilot of a B-17 during World War II. Read more of this post
December 11, 2012 Leave a Comment
A group of vintage airplane enthusiasts are planning to use computers to re-create one of the most unwitting and harrowing missions in U.S. military history, which began in Marin and ended in the middle of the attack on Pearl Harbor. November 30 marks the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack on America’s war ships that resulted in the deaths of 2,400 Americans and vaulted the country into World War II.
The day before the attack, a dozen B-17 aircraft that had assembled from other parts of the country rumbled down the airstrip at Hamilton Field in Novato, headed for Hickam Field in Hawaii. With tensions in the Pacific mounting in late 1941, the U.S. Army Air Forces sought to strengthen itself by dispatching the B-17s to the Philippines. Hawaii would be a stopover to rest and refuel. The B-17s were reconnaissance planes at that time, rather than the bombers they later became during the war.
As the group approached Hickam Field the next morning they found chaos. Pearl Harbor was under attack, and the B-17s, stripped of guns and ammunition to reduce weight to make the 2,400-mile flight, were at the mercy of Japanese fighters. Initially American radar operators on Oahu mistook Japanese forces for the B-17s flying from Hamilton. “They left Hamilton in peacetime and they landed in the middle of war,” said Randy Cain, a member of the group FS Vintage Air who lives in Eugene, Ore.
Cain and others have painstakingly gathered information about the flight from Marin, which he has fed into a Microsoft flight simulator program. He and about a half-dozen other enthusiasts from around the country will make the virtual flight Saturday on their computers, which have foot rudders and yokes connected.
“We have to stay on top of everything for those 14 hours,” said Cain, who has done the virtual flight — dubbed the “Iron Man” — in years past. “We have to monitor air speed and weather conditions, everything. We do it to commemorate those who made that flight.”
Fairfax resident John Martini, a Bay Area historian, worked as a chief ranger at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor from 1982 to 1984 and often spoke to visitors about the B-17s out of Hamilton.
“They had no defense,” Martini said. “They had no idea what they were heading into. Once they arrived they had to scatter and go in all different directions to try to survive. They were sitting ducks.”
One pilot turned out to sea and tried to land at another airstrip while others did make it to Hickam under enemy fire. One plane was forced to land at the Kahuku Golf Course on the north part of Oahu. Another landed at an auxiliary strip at Haliewa on the northwest coast of Oahu and another at Bellows Field on the east coast of Oahu.
The entire landing is believed have lasted a frightening 10 minutes. Four of the dozen B-17s were destroyed. The real-life story was made into a largely fictionalized account in the 1943 movie “Air Force,” which stars John Garfield and Gig Young. It won an Oscar for best film editing in 1944. But the drama of that day couldn’t be matched by Hollywood.
“They weren’t expecting anything like what happened, it must have been a tremendous shock,” said Novato resident Edna Manzoni, who wrote a chapter about World War II in the book “Images of America: Hamilton Field.” “It’s an important part of Hamilton’s history.”
Relive your wartime memories when you get your own B-17 model airplane from Showcase Models. Choose from the many model airplanes for display including large scale model planes, military aircraft models, and other wood model planes.
November 5, 2012 Leave a Comment
A restored B-17 Flying Fortress used in the movie “Memphis Belle” will be in Tampa on Veterans Day as part of a tour saluting veterans. The tour is organized by The Liberty Foundation and will stop on Nov 10-11 at Leader Edge Aviation Services at Tampa Executive Airport, 6582 Eureka Springs Road.
According to the foundation’s website, the plane will be available for public flights and tours both days, with ground tours afterward. The plane “is a living museum, our heritage not in mothballs or the pages of a dusty book, but real life, three dimensions, here and now,” according to the website.
Memphis Belle was the nickname of a Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress used on 25 bombing missions over Europe during World War II. The Memphis Belle used in the movie was a B-17G built in 1954. The plane was in storage when it was first sold in 1959 and has changed ownership several times since. It was restored to resemble a B-17F in 1982 before it was used in the film.
The owners leased the plane to The Liberty Foundation for the tour.The goal “is to educate the people of America about the courage (of) WWII veterans, and remember those brave aircrew who never made it home,” the website says.
Relive your wartime memories when you get your own B-17 model airplane from Showcase Models. Choose from the many display model airplanes including large scale model planes, military aircraft models, and other wooden model planes.
October 12, 2012 Leave a Comment
Tours of the Memphis Belle, a WWII-era B-17 Flying Fortress, will be available Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Spirit Airport in Chesterfield. The flights last half an hour and cost $450 and the proceeds will go the Liberty Foundation, to keep the Memphis Belle in the air.
Pilot John Shuttleworth says it costs $5,500 an hour to operate the Memphis Belle. “It’s a very rare experience,” said Shuttleworth.
“There’s only five B-17s that go around the country today, out of more than 12,780 that were made. There are 12 that are capable of flight, and only five that actually fly.” Shuttleworth said ground tours of the plane will also be available on Sunday for a donation. For more information, visit the organization’s website. To schedule a flight, call 918-340-0423.
Relive your wartime memories when you get your own B-17 model airplane from Showcase Models. Choose from the many handcrafted model planes including large scale model planes, military aircraft models, and other wooden model planes.
October 5, 2012 Leave a Comment
The Experimental Aircraft Association brought the B-17 to Dothan Regional Airport for the weekend as part of a nationwide tour. Visitors will have the chance to go on ground tours and flights.
Art Osepchook, an 88-year old wartime veteran, tears up whenever he thinks about flying on a B-17 for the first time after 70 years. The last time he flew on a B-17, his plane was hit by bombs from another plan on a bombing run over Nazi Germany. Ospechook, a ball turret gunner, and another member of the 10-man crew managed to bail out of the plane, but were captured and spent 14 months in a POW camp.
“It was a miracle,” he said. “I was blessed. I feel sad about the ones that didn’t make it.”
During the war, the U.S. Army Air Forces used the B-17 to level the German military and industrial complex. The B-17 dropped nearly half of all the bombs in the war. About 12,000 of the planes were made during the war, and nearly a third of them were shot down. Today, 13 are still flown.
The Aluminum Overcast rolled off the production lines toward the end of the war and never saw combat. The plane was sold as scrap for $750, but was rescued and changed hands several times, being used for mapping, cargo and photography purposes. In the 1960s, the plane came to Dothan and was used for crop-dusting.
The plane became the property of the Experimental Aircraft Association and today operates as a traveling museum, flying to cities throughout the U.S.
Aluminum Overcast will be in Dothan until Sunday. To find out about booking information, visit http://www.b17.org/.
Relive your wartime memories when you get your own B-17 model airplane from Showcase Models. Choose from the many civilian model planes for sale including large scale model planes, military aircraft models, and other wooden aircraft models.