Among the planes listed for display and tours was a Boeing B-17. This has special significance to D.'s mother, whose brother, Sergeant Hugh Jennings, was killed in 1942 when the B-17 he was riding in crashed on a training flight in Idaho. She wanted to see this one, and so did D. So did I. It was a beautiful day to be outdoors; making the choice between working and heading over to Beverly was easy.
There was a large crowd on hand to see the B-17 "Flying Fortress" and B-24 "Liberator" heavy bombers, P-51 Mustang and Vought F-4U Corsair fighters and T-6 and Stearman (biplane) pilot trainers. Flights were offered (at budget-busting rates) as well as the inexpensive tours inside the B-17 and B-24. We opted to join the long line for the B-17 walk-through.
"Walk-through" is something of a misnomer. Space is at a premium inside these warbirds; most of their bulk is filled with hardware. It was impossible to spend any time inside without thinking of what the crews of these planes experienced under combat conditions. Taking a moment to steady oneself and look around was not an option for those brave men.
Time and the mass of people worked against getting good photography, particularly of the planes' exteriors. Those shots I liked ended up being of details, with people cropped out.
|One of the B-17's four Wright "Cyclone" engines|
|The bombardier and nose gunner's bay|
|Bombardier's position from outside, with nose gun turret below|
The last photo struck me as having a bit of WWII-vintage LIFE magazine feel when converted to black & white.
I know where the B-17 and B-24 are kept when not being sent off to air shows. Their "home" field will be having an event in October, and D. and I are considering heading over for that. There are several other noteworthy aircraft in the collection there, as well as some significant cars.
Just can't get enough of these. I've been fortunate to have seen B-17s and B-24s in flight -- the number of survivors in flying condition is pitifully small, so such opportunities are rare -- and am always ready for more. I'm ready to take many more photos, too.