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  52 Votes (4.87 Moyenne) et 3.553 Vues  

/images/icons/csMagGlass.png moyen / grand / plein format

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress (N7227C)

Soumis

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wylann
My favorite bomber. Beautiful shot.
garritt
wow !
Bart Steger
Bomb's away.
Massimo Poggio
What an awesome photo of an awesome ship! My father-in-law was an instructor during WWII and logged over 5000 hours on them. He loved “his ships” and would often share the many experiences he had flying them and about the hundreds of cadets that he trained for the European theatre. He was eventually transferred to a different base in California when Boeing started producing the B-29’s. He trained young officer to fly them after an intensive training course he received. He did so until the war in the Pacific came to an end. While he admitted that the B-29 was a superior aircraft (Particularly significantly less noisy) his love for the B-17 never waned. He often spoke about when landing a B-17, it felt like the aircraft would come to pieces any minute, but quickly felt that in his opinion—which was shared by all the instructors—they were indestructible.
Indeed, I have seen photographs and film strips of B-17’s returning to their bases in the UK after a sortie over Germany; and having been a pilot myself and an avid aviation enthusiast, I was blown away by the condition some of those aircraft managed to bring the aircraft and crews back. If you haven’t seen them, look on U-Tube; I guarantee you will be mesmerized by them. I used to watch them with my father-in-law and he would always wonder if that pilot wasn’t “his”. He, and the other instructors, always felt a sense of guilt as they all would have gone to the UK in a second. When he (and the others) joined the Air Core, he fully expected to be sent to Europe. His skills as a pilot and the abilities to work well with anyone regardless of the circumstances, proved to be more valuable as an instructor. The need for pilots was incredibly high and they had to get up to speed fast. They needed the best instructors. I know all too well how long it took me to get a multi-engine instrument rating, and I wasn’t planning to be sent out on bombing raids. In the same period of time, dozens of pilots would enlist in the air core, many barely 19 and 20 years old that came from farming to end up on raids over Germany in no time at all in B-17’s. It speaks highly of those young men; but it also speaks volumes about their instructors.
He was given little time to take a young officer from a Stearman 75 to B-17 and on to the UK. He told of many of them who never came back. He also told me that many simply were not ready to and yet, when the time was “up”, they were sent. He felt a lot of pressure 24/7 and only the instructors really understood the immense responsibility that was expected from the, even they were not that much older than the cadets entrusted to them.
As a result, they were a very close-knit group and never lost the need to be sent out as well. In his mind, every pilot he trained who never came back, weighed on him until the day he died. And he remembered the names of many. He often spoke of how troubled he was when he knew well that many pilots simply "did not have it". He knew they never would and in spite of his admonitions to his superiors. Yet, they were still shipped out. It broke his heart. He was an outstanding gentleman and years ago when I was still flying and he would still pass his physicals (I remember looking at his log book in the mid 80’s and he had already exceeded 10,000 air miles in the left seat. We flew together often in my Seneca; and always came away feeling like I was a much better pilot. I learned so much! I always felt that I was a fairly decent pilot and even prided myself for my ability to land in remote airports in the Mountain West, where I would find myself landing with 25 to 30 knots of crosswind and set the aircraft down very well and long from the end of the runway. That was until I flew with him. I promptly realized I was hardly a beginner. While having the aircraft, he would land on much strips, often at 6500 feet above mean sea level, or more; where the conditions were significantly more adverse and often, the cross-winds would be more intense and also shift on second’s notice. Yet, I can’t recall any circumstance when he landed at most, 200 feet from the threshold and did so as cool as a cucumber. I would be mesmerized by his demeanor and the way he handled the yoke (usually with his fingers…); one would think he was performing a routine landing, under the best possible conditions, at an international airport such as LAX. Often, when flying during night hours, he flew no differently into many of these remote airports and under similar circumstances, where being able to turn on the runway lights with the mike, was an unexpected luxury. Never mind any sort of ground control.
But I also recall every time we would get ready to fly, he was always informed about everything and anything and in great detail—particularly about the weather. His pre-flight checks, including those of the of the aircraft (At the time, essentially brand new), were so meticulous that I felt like I had never flown before and was clueless about what a pre-flight check might be. He also never moved the aircraft until he had done his weight and balance calculations and what our fuel reserve might be. And after checking them for accuracy making sure he knew exactly how much fuel we had on board or how much may have been added, he would proceed to check his numbers once again; and then recheck them. He would always tell me where we should land, should the aircraft run into any circumstances where we would have to consider a forced landing; and I was amazed by some of the places he would choose. Often, no more than what seemed like a ledge on the side of a mountain. Yet, he always used the term hard landing, and never crash landing. Again, this was the case when flying across the Rockies from places like SLC to DEN. Those of you who have flown that, or a similar route, in a smaller aircraft and on the best days, know what I mean.
He prepared for anything no matter where we planned to go or how far it might be from my home airport at PVU. He used to always tell me that over-confident pilots, were dead pilots. Always urging me to carry a fear instinct just so I would not become too complacent. I always felt I was trained by excellent instructors; but flying with my father-in-law, I quickly realized the training I received from him, was at an entirely different level. He was prepared to fly. That was when I realized that his background as a B-17 instructor, was significantly different from the one I received. Further than simply teaching someone to fly a B-17; he felt a sense of responsibility to teach each cadet to fly an aircraft in a combat zone the likes of which, were never seen before, or possibly seen again. He was all too aware of the odds of coming home that were so bleak—even for the best of them. However, in my case, as a result, I know that I not only became a better pilot, but eventually was also able to enjoy flying more than I ever imagined it would be possible. Did I say how much I loved flying?
I considered it a real privilege to fly with him. He passed away at the age of 91 and lived every minute of his life to the fullest. And he was as sharp as a pin! He was one of the many farm boys that quickly enlisted and having a college degree, he chose the Air Core where he came out of officer’s school as a captain at the age of 23. He received his wings not much later. I love this photo and will reach out to the photographer about possibly acquiring it ang make it big so that I can frame it and give it to my wife for Christmas. When he passed away, he left his uniform to me with the cap and all the various pins attached to it, including the wings. I think I could add some of those items to the photo montage and individualize it.
He had a unique way of sharing events from his war years that left one feeling as he was there with him at the time. More so, there wasn't a time he shared experiences concerning pilots that should have never been sent; that would not bring tears to his eyes. Or when a restored B-17 made a stop at PVU, and, of course, he was allowed to enter the aircraft and take his well-earned left seat. When he emerged from the aircraft, I saw an elderly gentleman standing tall and crying like a baby. Much as I am doing right now. He had a special bond with every one he trained as well as the other instructors. And yet, he was barely much older than they were. My wife, who adored him; I know would love such a photograph.
Sorry for the tome; it brought back so many wonderful memories…
What a wonderful photo! Thank you for sharing it. I will try to reach out to you. Thanks!
Greg Byington
DPhelps92, that is a great shot! And I enjoyed your story, Massimo. I can relate to a lot of it. I worked at one of the FBOs there at PVU before I joined the Army and was working on my pilot license back in the 70's. I flew a charter flight once in a Seneca II with my instructor from PVU to SLC then to CLE in late December. Passing out from hypoxia somewhere over Nebraska was a lot of fun. (NOT!) And the return flight at night over the Rockies in a storm was one to remember! Anyway, thanks for the pic and the story.
JOURNAL DE L'ACTIVITE
Vous voulez une recherche complète sur l'historique de N7227C depuis 1998? Achetez maintenant. Recevez-le dans l'heure.
Date Avion Provenance Destination Départ Arrivée Durée
18-08-2019 UnknownStinson Muni ()Conroe-North Houston Rgnl () 18h03 CDT 19h07 CDT 1:04
18-08-2019 UnknownStinson Muni ()Stinson Muni () 13h26 CDT 13h50 CDT (?) 0:23
17-08-2019 UnknownStinson Muni ()Stinson Muni () 16h07 CDT 16h36 CDT (?) 0:29
17-08-2019 UnknownConroe-North Houston Rgnl ()Stinson Muni () 08h37 CDT 10h01 CDT (?) 1:23
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