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.