Thrilflight on a restored, vintage B-17 “flying fortress”

Thrilflight on a restored, vintage B-17 “flying fortress”

Saw this link on boingboing and it reminded me of when I was younger (15 or so years ago), I was fortunate enough to be visiting my grandfather in Larned, Kansas at the same time that one of these groups that restored a b-17 and a b-19 were in Hutchinson and we were all able to go on a flight on one of these awesome machines.

The best part of the whole experience was that my grandfather used to pilot one of these things over Germany in WWII (He supposedly flew a couple of missions with Jimmy Stewart). So before we took off, we explained the significance to the people in charge of the machines and while we were in air, they stepped back and let my grandfather take the controls for a good 15-20 minutes while in flight.

Now to understand how big of an event this was to him, you have to understand the type of man he presented himself to be. He was always a no-bullshit type of old man. I hardly ever new him to seem happy or act like he was enjoying what he was doing – whether it was running his Ford dealership or fixing irrigation systems in the middle of a corn field.

But when he took the controls of the b-19, his eyes filled with life like I had never seen before.

There used to be a website that had documented his plane (the shady lady, of which there were a few as I understand) and crew as well as some of their flights, but like so many things on the internet, it seems to have fallen to the wayside.

It wasn’t more than a year or two later when my grandfather had a serious stroke and was barely able to remember a face. I don’t know if there is anything to be learned from this other than the obvious.


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