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Gunslinger
10-14-2010, 11:53 AM
Yesterday my wife and I went aboard the Collings Foundation B-17 Flying Fortress "Nine-O-Nine", along with their B-24 Liberator and dual control P-51C Mustang. This is the same B-17 I took a flight on and got to pilot for about fifteen minutes back in the 1990's. My wife had never seen planes like this up close and personal before...only in movies and documentaries. It was a real experience for her and gives all a real appreciation for the caliber of men who flew in these birds in combat.

I checked all the engine tags on "Nine-O-Nine" and found only one Studebaker built Wright R-1820 engine...the other three were all Wright built.

If I would have had an in with someone at the airport or the Collings Foundation, I would have asked about taking my Avanti's out there to take photos with the planes...but even I did, it's raining cats and dogs today and would have ruined the opportunity anyway.

I encourage all who have the opportunity to see planes such as these in person to do so. It's a wonderful experience...and if you take a plight in one, it will be one of the highlights of your life!

JBOYLE
10-14-2010, 01:01 PM
Here's "Nine-O-Nine" as photographed in the summer of 1976.
It was being restored at Falcon Field in Mesa for firefighting duties.

A former Air Rescue Service plane (note the yellow band) in 1952 it was parked at Yucca Flats, Nevada to test the vunerability of parked aircraft to atomic blasts. A a distance of 10,000 feet, it survived two blasts, one a 1-kiloton explosion, the second was a 31-kiliton blast.
It was sold for scrap in 1965 for $269. Aircraft Specialties of Mesa, bought it and another plane, and facing a deadline to get it off government property, in six weeks they restored it for a ferry flight to Mesa. It took 4000 feet of new control cables, overhauled engines, new instruments and a lot of metal work.

It then sat outside for another 11 years (primarily acting as a parts source for other firefighting B-17s) before it joined the tanker fleet in 1977. It survived eight years of dangerous firefighting missions which generally cost a plane a year (not all were B-17s).

In 1985, it was sold to the Collings Foundation. It was them overhauled and restored to military configuration.

So no matter how bad a Studebaker may look, at least you don't have to repair the damage of two nuclear blasts! :)

41 Frank
10-14-2010, 01:42 PM
I crawled all through the B-17 "Sentimental Journey" housed at the Mesa, AZ airport 4 years ago while visiting the museum there. At that time it had two Studebaker engines, both on the starboard side.

Gary1953
10-14-2010, 02:07 PM
I visit the web site monthly and keep a close eye on the schedule so I can visit when it comes close to my area.
I am hoping to take the flight when it does.
Cool pictures. Thank you for posting.

BobGlasscock
10-14-2010, 02:35 PM
When it was here 3 or 4 years ago, it had 3 Studebaker/Wrights and one Wright. Guess they have a stock for repair and replacment.

Gunslinger
10-14-2010, 04:59 PM
I visit the web site monthly and keep a close eye on the schedule so I can visit when it comes close to my area.
I am hoping to take the flight when it does.
Cool pictures. Thank you for posting.

Here's a photo I took when I took a flight on "Nine-O-Nine" back in 1997...I have more but have yet to scan them in...

raprice
10-14-2010, 05:19 PM
I can't even imagine how much it costs to restore such a terrific aircraft. I guess all you need is bundles of cash.
Rog

Gunslinger
10-14-2010, 06:14 PM
They said it costs about $4k per hour to fly these birds. The bundles of money it takes to restore one is out of sight, but it's usually not something anyone does for profit...it's done for the love of the aircraft and the desire to keep them flying. When you buy one of these airframes that's restorable, you also buy several extra airframes for parts...hoping to make one flyable airplane out of several.

As expensive as these aircraft are, it pales in comparison to keeping a ship in the water and in good historically accurate condition and state of repair...even if they're never sailed except behind a tow cable.

Silverplate
10-14-2010, 07:27 PM
Here is my photo of Nine-O-Nine” taken from the waist gunner position on the Collings Foundation B-24 Liberator. I was lucky enough to have flown a re positioning flight from Fort Lauderdale to Marathon in the Florida Keys.

http://silverplate1945.smugmug.com/AVIATION/AIRCRAFT-PHOTOGRAPHS-BY-MIKE/B17a/24329424_2gjsg-M.jpg

JBOYLE
10-14-2010, 07:51 PM
Here is my photo of Nine-O-Nine” taken from the waist gunner position on the Collings Foundation B-24 Liberator. I was lucky enough to have flown a re positioning flight from Fort Lauderdale to Marathon in the Florida Keys.


Now that is neat!
It would be great to see a B-17 in formation.

JWW
10-15-2010, 01:45 PM
http://i309.photobucket.com/albums/kk388/JWW3_2008/My%20Studes/64DaytonaB-17.jpg

I was able to get my photo-op at the Allegheny County (Pgh) Airport which is much smaller and less strict than Pittsburgh International. (Mostly corporate and private aircraft) The Collings people told me I'd have to see someone in Airport Operations, so I went into the terminal and knocked on their door. They said OK, and that's how it was done. If you don't ask...

I believe the inboard engine on this side is a Studebaker built IIRC.
JWW [still grinnin']

53k
10-15-2010, 08:14 PM
Interesting to see your post. This morning I looked out the upstairs window and a B-24 flew by about a half mile away. I wondered what was going on. They seemed to be following the Potomac River. I assumed they had just taken off from Martinsburg. I know several years ago they staged a B-29, a B-24 and a C-47 at Martinsburg for the air show at Frederick (MD).

Gunslinger
10-15-2010, 11:19 PM
Paul...the B24 as well as the B17 and P51 all were at the Frederick Airport. I'm sure it was just on a flight with passengers when you saw it. Today was their last day in Frederick and they're supposed to fly on to Westminster for the weekend.