Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Flying Fortress Fan


As our two readers already know, last weekend the Grasshopper found himself aboard the Douglas Aircraft-manufactured B-17G-85-DL, #44-83575, aka “Nine-O-Nine” (née“Lady of Yukka”--atomic test survivor/air tanker). A most wonderful experience, especially due to the fact that one of the other passengers was a WWII pilot who not only flew B-17s, but was shot down over Germany and went on to train B-29 pilots.

What readers may not know is that the Grasshopper has been a fan of the Flying Fortress for more than four decades. This goes back to watching “Twelve O’Clock High” on ABC in the mid-60s, making the models, and requesting Edward Jablonski’s excellent book as an 11th birthday present. The bomber geekdom continued to manifest itself over the years as I made pilgrimages to fly-in’s and aviation museums far and wide--from Palm Springs to Hendon in the UK .

Of course, the original “12 O’Clock” movie starring Gregory Peck was required viewing. I also sought out both the theatrical and documentary films recounting the tale of the legendary Memphis Belle. You can imagine my disappointment when I tried to visit the Belle on Mud Island and found that the plane was no longer on public display. (Happily, it was rescued by The Smithsonian and is currently being restored.)

So, as a tribute to this magnificent aircraft, TSG presents a slideshow of B-17 images for your enjoyment.