Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bombs Away

A short flight today in order to crawl around the Collings Foundation B17, B24 and B25. More to follow.....after a cool shower and dinner out with my Bride!

Ahhhh, I'm showered and my tummy is full, I am ready to type a few lines noting today's solo adventure. First off, it was not the same without Mary riding along right seat. My lovely Bride decided to stay wheels down and lay out in the sun and putz around the house (I guess WWII bombers just didn't do it for her). I on the other hand took advantage of the great weather to get some left seat time.

I read back my taxi clearance and was underway. Run up completed I acknowledged clear to take off on runway 27. Almost to pattern altitude I get a call from the tower to recycle my transponder. Grumble....Grrrrr...I thought this was working. As always flying the plane first, I request a left turn out on course to trouble shoot and clear the delta airspace. Breaker good, turn the unit off then on, wait, no light at all. Hmmm, on and off again hit ident and the light comes on and this time Wilmington tower confirms contact. The rest of the flight was smooth and trouble free.

The Naval Air Station Wildwood Museum was packed with visitors which is always good for the cash register. The Bombers were neatly lined up on the west side of the museum hangar. First the B17, next the B24 and finally the B25. Thanks to 'Danos' from the POA forum who provides the ground shots since he remembered his camera.

The aircraft were in great shape and this old man crawled around checking out every nook and cranny. I will say this, the MEN that flew those aircraft and the crew who battled enemy fighters were all hero's in my book. If you have the chance to see these flying history lessons, do so. I plan on taking a 30 minute flight the next time they are in town.

It is an unmistakable sound... two Wright R-2600 engines echoing through the sky as one of America's most famous medium bombers, the B-25 Mitchell, soars through the skies over 50 years after its service life. Made most famous for the Doolittle Raid on Japan, the first American attack made on the Japanese mainland after the attack on Pearl Harbor. This famous raid saw sixteen B-25s take off from the aircraft carrier, the USS Hornet on a daring mission that brought morale back to America in a time of war. The B-25 was never conceived to fly off of an aircraft carrier, but it adapted... that's what the B-25 was known for, adaptability under any combat circumstance.
Employed as a bomber in every theater of operations, and even as a ground attack aircraft and low-level bomber, the B-25 was a reliable aircraft with a proven record that was hard to beat. Even after WWII, the B-25 saw considerable use in the civilian sector as a transport aircraft and as a fire-bomber over America's forested regions.

The Collings Foundation’s B-24 is the only restored flying B-24 in the world. America's only flying B-24 continues soaring through its native skies as part of the annual Wings of Freedom Tour with its sister ship, the B-17 Flying Fortress. A product of a multi-million dollar restoration, the B-24 stands testiment to the strength of the 1940's engineering that built it and helped it survive through many years of hardship.

I also had the chance to meet a fellow POA Forum member, 'Danso'. What a nice guy and his passenger whose name escapes me both seemed to enjoy the exhibit. We talked planes and flying lesson's; Danso's commercial rating (almost there) and my ground school work towards my IR. Time as always fly's by, no pun intended. We parted ways and they headed back to Caldwell and I said my goodbyes to my fellow POA Forum members and to my co-workers in operations. I pre-flighted then saddled up for my short hop to KILG.

Fun day, short hop but worth the time in the air. I'll post pictures as my friends at work send them to me. Why you ask, because I packed everything but the camera...can you say Duh!

Until next time.....Blue Skies!

2 comments:

MyFlightBlog said...

Great post. Those aircraft from the Collings Foundation are awesome. It is so great that they are working so hard to preserve history. I had a great opportunity to fly in the B-17 last month(http://www.myflightblog.com/archives/cat_b17_flying_fortress.php). An experience I will remember forever.

Gary Mascelli said...

Todd,

I agree, AWESOME!!

The Collings Foundation does a great job maintaing the aircraft. I can't wait to fly in the B17!

I added your web page to my links on the blog. Nice Blog and plenty of good reading!