Thursday, September 19, 2013

Nine O Nine

What a treat J- and I had yesterday afternoon. We went to the Portland Jetport and visited the "Wings of Freedom fly-in. 
They had a B-17, a B-24 Liberator ("Witchcraft")and a sleek, silver P-51 Mustang ("Betty Jane") available to walk around and actually tour. 
Pictured here is the B-17 Flying Fortress ("Nine O Nine"). This plane has a special connection to our family. My Uncle Leonard was a co-pilot on one of these in the 'Good War'. The walk inside was quite amazing. It looks pretty spacious from the outside, but the quarters inside were just so tight, not a lot of space to move around in, especially when you factor in the payload they carried. It was a bit of an eerie walk too. The backstory, that I have written about before, is that Uncle Leonard's plane was hit and went down with all the crew parachuting out. This was his last mission. At this point, our family story turns mysterious. The entire crew, except Uncle Leonard, were taken prisoners of war. There are various accounts of what happened to my uncle, aka Buster. All not good.
This is one of my connections to the "Greatest Generation".

Because many have asked: Wings of Freedom schedule-
wof.htmhttp://www.collingsfoundation.org/cf_schedule-wof.htm

17 comments:

  1. wow!So beautiful plane, a treasure!
    Léia

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  2. Those vintage aircrafts are a great deal of fun to visit. Many stories connected with each one, like that of your Uncle.



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  3. I love your plane and snippet of backstory with your uncle.

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  4. Wow, lucky you, Birdman! I'd so love to be just once inside a Liberator bomber like the one my father piloted in the war.
    Were you able to take pictures inside?

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    1. http://www.collingsfoundation.org/cf_schedule-wof.htm

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    2. Thanks for the link, Birdman. Next time I come to visit America I'll plan the trip around a Wings of Freedom tour schedule.

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  5. What a special post you have today. I really like the photograph too. Thanks.

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  6. Got to tour a B-17 called Aluminum Overcast in Sioux Falls. It was also a special visit, but I had no family connection. My Dad was in the Army. Also enjoy your photo. Walt Disney Co. did the nose art for these aircraft.

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  7. What a great opportunity to see these old machines.

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  8. MY J would have loved this...Sad about your uncle's crew, & your uncle too...

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  9. So cool! Any photos from the inside?

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  10. B-17's have huge signifance for me in that my father trained in one during WW II. He would have gone to Europe had it not crashed.

    To this day, if "Bomber Command" or "Twelve O'Clock High" comes on TCM, everything for me stops.

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  11. I regret the loss of Uncle Leonard. So many good people were lost in that war -- and other wars.

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  12. A dozen or so of these planes fly into Wright Patterson AFB every year at the Air Force Museum for a two day display. If you have never heard a group, small squadron, of these fly over you are really missing something. You can feel the props beating the air.

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