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I'm sure most of you have heard about the B-17 Nine O' Nine that crashed yesterday. It's made me pause as I've been on that plane. Several years ago they landed at Sebring airport with engine problems. While there I got a chance to talk to the flight crew. Super nice group and when they found out my uncle was a tail gunner on one they let me crawl all through it on a don't touch anything but enjoy yourself field trip. Also when their B-24 showed up carrying spare parts they let me tour that one too.
 

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Interestingly, I walked through the same plane when it was on display in Salina, KS, with several other WWII aircraft. My half brother was a B-17 co-pilot in WWII and his plane was shot down over Nazi held territory in Holland. He and the wounded crew all survived after being smuggled back to the Allied side with assistance from the underground network. The pilot's son has written a document based on his father's recollection of the events, it is amazing. I have a deep appreciation for the men who manned these aircraft as hydraulic and electrical systems were very primitive back then. They literally flew these planes with cables and pulleys. These men encountered staggering losses among their ranks when at one time the odds were you would be shot down within six missions. I'll always remember the sound of that B-17 on a flyover, those vintage piston engines churned horsepower in a class by themselves.
 

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I am very sorry to hear of that crash. I too love those planes. And yes, those crews did live a hard life in those old monsters. I've been close to many of those you're speaking of but, not in any. The closest I've been to being in one like that is a '36. It's like a flying building. I guess I need to watch more news. I'm just tired of the boneheads that are trying to tear down our president. So, I quit watching the news.
Scott
 

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I was air crew during Vietnam on Chinook choppers. My squadron had CH- 46, CH-47 and H-53 birds. There is no comfort on any of these military aircraft and if I use the term miserable I would not be lying. On a chopper you at least have a chance if/when the engine shuts down. They don't just fall out of the sky and instead can Auto Rotate their way down in a somewhat controlled crash landing. These old flying fortresses would scare me to death to fly in. I would not be nearly as concerned with an engine failure as I would be with metal fatigue. Aluminum made in the 30's and 40's is far different from the aluminum of today and if you ever flew in any military plane or chopper they tend to rattle themselves to pieces. The engines on these old beasts are just as likely to fall right off as they are to quit. Doing pre flight inspections was my job in the service and getting into some of the failure prone areas of these machines to do an eyes on inspection was a daily chore that many mechanics skipped or did a poor job with. I watched one of my mates lose his hand and half of his forearm when a hydraulic line with 3,000 PSI sprung a pin hole leak. 3,000 PSI will cut right through metal if concentrated right.
I highly prefer to stay right on mother earth these days and they can keep the commercial airlines to whoever wants to fly in them. We had a double team rule on our choppers where one mechanic did the pre flight and a second one had to do it again and both had to agree before it lifted off the tarmac. What scared me most was the new, young officers who were pilots in training just learning how to fly these beasts. We had some very well seasoned pilots doing the training along with some real jack wagons attempting to learn. Some days when my feet hit the flight deck or tarmac I wanted to thank the lord above we made it safe.

GaryL
 

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....I highly prefer to stay right on mother earth these days and they can keep the commercial airlines to whoever wants to fly in them. ....
Me too! After 5,000 hours I figured I had used up all nine lives with all the near misses....even though I wasn't in the military......back country flying for 30 years had more than enough near misses. :eek:

Besides, I HATE modern airlines. :mad: Oh for the 50's and 60's when you were treated like royalty instead of a suspected terrorist.
 
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