Cassi Creek: We drove into Jonesborough for dinner and the Halloween dance last night.
Gloria was well costumed, using a Rockwell cover as her guide for a “Rosie the riveter” appearance.
Keeping to the era, I turned out as an AAF air crewman that could have matched any of several jobs other than Pilot/Co-Pilot on a heavy bomber.
Gloria’s costume was, sadly, not well recognized by most of the under 60 group. Mine was somewhat more recognized as aviation related but, again, the same younger folks didn’t manage to make the tie to WWII. A few people wanted to know if my hat was genuine and were surprised when I told them it is older than I am.
There are only a few of these behemoths surviving. If you have the chance to see one, please take it. It will surprise you that the aircraft were so Spartan in nature and so vulnerable to enemy aircraft and guns. The odds were against any aircrew making a round trip without sustaining crew losses and plane damage. Heroes, all!
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engine heavy bomber aircraft primarily employed by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) during World War II. Developed by Boeing, a total of 12,731 aircraft had been produced by Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed from 1936 until 1945. A vast majority (over 8,000) of these aircraft were lost in either combat operations or training accidents. The remaining combat veterans and early production modelswere stored and later scrapped in the vast scrap drives of the late 1940s.
The majority of the aircraft that survive today came from the last batches of aircraft produced by both Douglas and Lockheed, which had better corrosion control practices. These aircraft had found use in the 1950s and early 1960s as DB-17 Drone Director and QB-17 target aircraft with the USAF, as U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard early warning, air sea rescue or weather aircraft (known by the naval aircraft designations PB-1W or PB-1G), or overseas as photo mapping aircraft with French National Geographic Institute. After retirement from active service, these aircraft were converted during the 1960s to the late 1980s as bulk cargo transport, aerial sprayer, and water tanker aircraft.
During the late 1970s when the warbird movement began, these survivors were eagerly anticipated and as each came on the civilian market many were restored to original combat configuration. In the 1990s, as intact, existing airframes became increasingly rare (only 46 intact B-17's are known to exist as of August 2013); restorers began seeking out airframes that were previously considered unrecoverable.
Data from the Encyclopedia of World Aircraft
· Crew: 10: Pilot, co-pilot, navigator, bombardier/nose gunner,top turret gunner, radio operator, waist gunners (2), ball turret gunner, tail gunner
· Length: 74 ft 4 in (22.66 m)
· Wingspan: 103 ft 9 in (31.62 m)
· Height: 19 ft 1 in (5.82 m)
· Wing area: 1,420 sq ft (131.92 m2)
· Aspect ratio: 7.57
· Loaded weight: 54,000 lb (24,500 kg)
· Max. takeoff weight: 65,500 lb (29,700 kg)
· Powerplant: 4 × Wright R-1820-97 "Cyclone" turbosupercharged radial engines, 1,200 hp (895 kW) each
· Cruise speed: 182 mph (158 kn, 293 km/h)
· Service ceiling: 35,600 ft (10,850 m)
· Rate of climb: 900 ft/min (4.6 m/s)
· Wing loading: 38.0 lb/sq ft (185.7 kg/m2)
· Power/mass: 0.089 hp/lb (150 W/kg)
· Guns: 13 × .50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns in 8 positions(2 in the Bendix chin turret,2 on nose cheeks ,two staggered waist guns,2 in upper Sperry turret,2 in Sperry ball turret in belly,2 in the tail and one in the nose)
· Short range missions (<400 mi="" span="">400> 8,000 lb (3,600 kg)
· Long range missions (≈800 mi): 4,500 lb (2,000 kg)
· Overload: 17,600 lb (7,800 kg)