Monday, July 06, 2009

Bombers in Ft. Collins

Yesterday, Connie and I drove up to the Ft. Collins - Loveland Airport where the Collings Foundation had an exhibit of three flyable WWII combat aircraft: B-17, B-24 and a rare two-seater variant P-51. You can see the B-24 in the pic above.

For a nominal fee you could walk around and clamber through the two bombers all you wanted. No touching the P-51. For a tax-deductible fee of $425 you could take a half-hour flight in one of the bombers. We had to pass on the plane rides.

Here's a little closer view of the B-24's nose art.

This pic is taken inside the bomb bay of the B-24.

Here's a shot of the P-51. Sure wish I could have moved the orange cones a little. This is a two-seater trainer version of the plane, and I believe this is the only P-51 I've seen in person that doesn't have a bubble canopy. It's not clear in this picture, but there is a maintence technician on the other side of the plane who polished aluminum the entire time we were there.

The B-17 was taking off for one of the half-hour rides just as we got there and later I was able to take a few pictures of her landing.

The piston engines, so rare in aircraft these days, give off that distinctive throaty roar.

Here's a better view of the nose art. This is a model "G" B-17, which is usually discernable by the distinctive "chin" turret you can see slung under the nose. You can plainly see the Norden bomb sight (that I posted about here earlier) in the nose bubble.

Here's a shot inside the cockpit. I was a little surprised by how few modern instruments had been added.

Finally here's a picture of Connie in the waist of the B-17. You can see one of the two 50 caliber waist guns on the right.

Clambering through these cramped monsters gives you a whole new appreciation for the brave men (like Steve's father ) who flew them under fire.

1 comment:

Kitty Carroll said...

My late father also was in a B17 in WWII. He was the navigator. I saw the interior of a B17 last fall. I remember the tiny 'office' area where the navigator sat in the center of the plane.