A Memorable Boeing B-17 Flight

Recently I had the very good fortune to be invited along on a flight out of the Napa Airport in a WWll Boeing B-17 bomber operated by the Commemorative Air Force. The Boeing B-17 Superfortress was utilized during WWll in the European Theater by the United States Air Force. Many of the USAF bomber groups utilizing this aircraft were based out of England during the war. You can view a great video of the aircraft I flew in at Gulf Coast Wing.  

I was able to explore the various B-17 crew compartments during our flight, as well as chat with the crew. During taxi out and takeoff I had a front row seat view from the cockpit, just behind the aircraft commander and copilot. I was surprised at the high level of noise from the engines that the crew was exposed to, as well as the constant vibration from the four Wright Cyclone 1,200 hp radial engines. It was hard to imagine the bomber crews having to function for hours on end, while being exposed to the elements of below freezing temperatures at high altitude and the constant noise and vibration from the engines, all the while having to concentrate on their bombing mission and the constant threat of being jumped by enemy fighter aircraft. I gained new insight and a vivid appreciation for what these young bomber crews had to endure during the war. All in all it as an eye opening experience and one that I will always treasure.

Boeing B-17 at the Napa Airport, California

Flight Crew

Forward bombadier station and the Nordon bomb sight

Right aft machine gun

Gunner's forward lower ball turret

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