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Thread: Willow Run B-24s

  1. #1
    President Member
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    Mar 2013
    British Columbia & Arizona

    Willow Run B-24s

    The long hanger at Willow Run, Michigan has a 90 degree turn in it so Henry Ford would not have to pay taxes in the next county. That short end is being saved and restored today as a museum. The big hanger doors are still operational after all these years.

    This is one of the best and most informative clips about a great American accomplishment, thanks to the Ford Motor Company during WWII.

    A Ford Airplane! AMAZING!

    Production began here 6 months BEFORE Pearl Harbor! Henry Ford was determined that he could mass produce bombers just as he had with cars, so he built the Willow Run assembly plant and proved it. This was the world's largest building under one roof at the time. This film will absolutely blow you away -- one B-24 every 55 minutes! -- and Ford had its own pilots to test them. And no recalls!
    B-24 Liberator Willow Run Assembly Plant - YouTube

  2. #2
    Silver Hawk Member StudeDave57's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    NorthWest Washington State (Lynden, WA)
    Consolidated had a pretty good design going with the Liberator.
    Luckily other plants were able to be built to assist with their production.

    I've always found it hard to believe that with as many of them as were built, so few survive.
    StudeDave '57
    US Navy (retired)

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  3. #3
    President Member
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    Oct 2004
    Montpelier, VT, USA.
    That was great, thanks for sharing the link!
    Dan Peterson
    Montpelier, VT
    1960 Lark V-8 Convertible
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  4. #4
    President Member 48skyliner's Avatar
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    Jul 2013
    Carnation, Washington
    The B-24 was one of the first, maybe the first, airplanes built with the newly developed laminar flow airfoil. I could carry more weight, fly faster and fly further than the B-17, but by all accounts was much more difficult to fly in formation, and had poor low speed characteristics compared to the B-17. The fuel capacity made it ideal for long range patrol, and the British used them for patrolling the waters around England. My impression is that the pilots and the mechanics much preferred the B-17, which may explain why more of the B-17s survived. The B-24 had its detractors - "the triple threat bomber - you could bomb them, strafe them or fall on them".

    The Indian Air Force had some and kept them flying for many years. They had plentiful cheap labor and kept them in pristine condition. Most of them were scrapped, but one was purchased by David Tallichet, who had a collection in California. He flew it in airshows on the West Coast in 1980, and I flew formation with it at the Bellingham, Washington airshow that year with my photographer friend Jim Larsen. It was in amazing like-new condition, had all the gun turrets and equipment. It eventually ended up in Kermit Weeks collection:

    The C-87 was a transport version of the B-24, and carried such luminaries as Churchill and Eisenhower to meetings in far away places. I assume it was faster and had more range than any other transport available at that time. At least one survives and can be seen in the movie "Fat Man and Little Boy".
    Last edited by 48skyliner; 04-01-2017 at 04:25 PM.
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  5. #5
    President Member
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    Apr 2005
    Noblesville, Indiana, USA.
    I was a guardian to 1st LT Robert Young, When he met Bob Doyle, and told him he flew B-24's, Bob Doyle made the comment, "Those were tough planes to fly"

    Great Video, thanks for sharing. Could you imagine living near or under the flight path of Willow Run? 4, 1200 HP engines slugging it out! OH what a sound!

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  6. #6
    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    , , Canada.
    Weren't Kaisers and Frazers produced at that plant right after the second world war?


  7. #7
    President Member
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    Feb 2008
    Niotre Dame, IN USA
    K-F's were made initially at Willow Run...later in Toledo after merging with JEEP. Carol and I were visiting our son and family in Ypsilanti in 2000. Our daughter-in-law suggested we go to Willow Run to see John McCain during his campaign. We got to meet John and Cindy McCain and acquired their autographs. I hope this is considered history and not politics! There is still a Hudson dealership there to my knowledge.

    Trivia: In 1954 I was home on leave prior to going to Germany which was still under occupation. A friend whose family owned the K-F dealership insisted I drive a 1954 Kaiser Manhattan w/blower. It was a very nice car.

  8. #8
    President Member
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    Feb 2011
    Pasadena, Ca
    How do you identify the captain vs co-pilot of a Liberator?
    The captain's left arm is massive, the co-pilot's is equally so.

    I read the Sen. Mc Govern's autobiography. In it he tells about the massive arm strength required to hustle these beasts in flight when everything was good and how much more when things went bad.

    Faster than a B17 and could haul a bigger load but more fussy. Anybody who got in these things for the purpose built has my never ending gratitude. Same to those who made it possible as well as the support crew.

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