July 7, 2005

Bad Ass Bird

Allow me to divert from politics for a moment and indulge one of my great interests.

This is one beautiful plane.

It's the B-17G "Sentimental Journey" and has been out on display at the Davenport Municipal Airport for the past three days. (Sorry I didn't hear about it sooner or I would have posted something earlier.)

A little data on the plane.
Number built: 12,700
Number in flying condition today: 10
Number of machine guns: 13 .50 caliber guns
Wingspan: 103' 10"
Length: 74' 4"
Height: 19' 1"
Engines: 4 Wright R-1820-97 turbo-supercharged radials, 1,823 cu.in. 1,425 hp per engine, generating 5,700 hp total.

The B-17 was widely appreciated for it's ability to absorb sometimes incredible damage and still bring crews home. For a cool collection of photos and stories of battle damaged B-17s click here.

The Sentimental Journey was restored and is maintained and toured by the Arizona wing of the Commemorative Air Force.

These incredible planes helped win WWII and the bravery of their often 19 or 20 year old crews were unbelievable. I recommend going to the Commemorative Air Force's site and viewing the diagram of where the 10 crewman were stationed in the plane. By clicking on the positions, it takes you to pages which explain the various positions responsibilities and what it was like for them.

This plane is incredibly interesting to view and tour in person, but unfortunately, it's going to fly out tomorrow. I've spoken to the crew and have found out that a pilot is en route for a planned flight for paying passengers ($395 a person...worth every penny, if you can spare that kind of dough.) at around 9:00 a.m. They will then pack up and fly out to their next stop in East Alton, IL soon afterwards. I'm not sure if you'll be able to tour the interior of the plane tomorrow, but would imagine that if they have the time, they'd let you. It's only $5 for the tour and free for kids.

So if you'd like to get a good look at a true piece of aviation and military history, try to get out there. You don't get many chances to witness and HEAR the incredible power of 4 huge radial engines belching huge clouds of smoke and roaring to life, or to watch a piece of history take off and lumber into the sky. Friday morning is a chance.

The sight and sound of this very large bomber taxiing and taking off is thrilling. But one can only imagine what it must have been like when you realize that there often used to be literally hundreds of them taking off one after one for formation bombing raids.

With a little imagination, it's as if you're back in the 1940's witnessing a flight taking off for a raid over Germany. Very cool.


At 7/07/2005 10:27 PM, Blogger Dave said...

And they wiped out thousands of civilians and the media didn't reort it because they knew it was a necessary evil of war.

At 7/08/2005 12:16 AM, Blogger SENOR MF BADASS said...

How dare you glorify sending this plane into a war for which we had no plan? I mean, Roosevelt didn't even tell Congress when he was going to withdraw troops from the European theatre.

At 7/08/2005 1:47 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Nice try, Fric and Frac.

We knew what the game was when we entered WWII. We weren't told a pack of lies. The reason for war didn't change as often as the weather as the various lies were exposed.
We weren't at war with an adjective, and the conditions of victory were clear and unambigous.

No plan? Hardly.

I wasn't around to judge the media coverage of WWII I'm afraid. But I don't think you're correct when you say that the press didn't report the deaths. The press was utterly and absolutely free to report on anything they wished (as long as it didn't reveal plans, postitions, etc.)
Press access and coverage of WWII was honest and free, as befitting our democracy. Nothing like the bullshit effort to completely sterilize and control the information coming out of the first Persian Gulf war and Junior's invasion and occupation, where reporters were controlled and access strictly limited, and million dollar high-tech extravaganzas were set up in tents to show cool video-game like films of precision bombs hitting their blurry green targets for the benefit of armchair Generals such as you two.

And somehow, something seems different between crews flying in sub zero altitudes with nothing but a leather jacket with a fleece lining and about an eighth of an inch of aluminum between you and death in a plane who's top speed is less than 300 mph through flack and enemy fighters and a pilot in a star-wars like computer equipped cockpit flying at supersonic speeds, pressing a button with his thumb and killing hundreds from a safe distance.

Go rent the highly acclaimed video "Control Room". You might learn something.

At 7/08/2005 3:17 AM, Blogger diehard said...

Betty Grabel had some great stems!

At 7/08/2005 6:40 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

One of the things that always amazes me about the B-17 is its only 12 feet longer than a modern-ish (about to be retired) F-14 Tomcat. It shows how much our fighters have grown in size since WW1 and 2.

At 7/08/2005 6:53 AM, Blogger Dave said...

You're a bit naive aboout what happened in WWII. Diminishing the bravery of today's soldiers because of an advance in technology shows your complete lack of understanding of the mission of today's armed forces.
There is evidence that FDR knew the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor and said captured Japanese soldiers didn't have to worry about their religious books getting pissed on, they had to worry about a bullet to the head if they didn't reveal where the next attacks were coming from. Sit down with a WWII Veteran sometime. You'll be enlightened.
Stay away from the movies.

At 7/08/2005 8:38 AM, Blogger diehard said...

Dave and Senoir Badass
Im going to repeat this one more time. This aint 1942 and Bush aint no FDR! He's not fit to carry FDR's jockstrap!!

At 7/08/2005 10:53 AM, Blogger Dave said...

Your hero is overrated. Now quit changing the subject. Now go sit down and ignore the terrorist threat just like Europe ingnored Hitler right up until the tanks were rolling down the streets of Paris.

At 7/08/2005 10:57 AM, Blogger diehard said...

Whos' your modern day Hitler Sadam I suppose,hardly as much as a challenge as Hitler.

At 7/08/2005 11:11 AM, Blogger Dave said...

Diehard, I can make a better argument against myself than you are mustering.
I can help you with your solution if you like.

At 7/08/2005 11:16 AM, Blogger diehard said...

Go argue with yourself then.

At 7/08/2005 12:11 PM, Blogger Dave said...

I know you are, but what am I. And you still have no solution to bring forward.

At 7/08/2005 1:21 PM, Blogger diehard said...

Come again? You keep saying solution. To what?

At 7/08/2005 4:20 PM, Blogger PrairieStateDem said...

A truly Beautiful Aircraft!!!

Every time I see one of the WWII birds such as the Fort...aka Flying Fortress I think of the amazing accomplishement of saving the world from unspeakable evil.

The allies and the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect freedom are owed this nation's eternal thanks.

They lived through the depress, protected the republic and made the world safe and went on to fuel the boom of technology an innovation our nation has enjoyed over the last 60 years.


Thanks dope! Glad someone else loves aviation almost as much as me

At 7/08/2005 7:01 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I tried to upload a couple .avi movies I took this morning of the engines starting and the plane taxiing by.... but alas, it seems I don't have enough disc space and it wouldn't let me do it.

I'll make a page with some still pictures, here.

It might take me some time to get it up, but that will be the link when it's done.

At 7/08/2005 7:13 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

WWII was a war for freedom from tyrany which affected the entire world.

Bush's adventure is nothing but a hostile takeover. A war of aggression.

If you can't see the difference, then you're willfully blind, a fool, or simply ignorant.


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