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Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress (N5017N)



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Larry Horton
Exchanged a ride for labor wiping it down a long time ago in a B-17 owned by the CAF IN Harlingen. Sat in the bombardier position. A real rush watching the landing from up front!
Awesome picture! Every time I have ever seen planes from that age I have been in awe of the men that flew in them. I saw a documentary on the crews that flew in them. Some routes taking 14 to 18 hours. Flying on oxygen, and in below freezing temperatures. Then as they approached the bombing site, the flack and fighter planes that would explode, and swarm around them as they made passes over the area, and then the long flight home, occasionally with dead and dying crew members, and watching, helplessly, members of their group falling and crashing into the ground. Watching as whole crews fall to their deaths.

How much courage must be involved to climb into one of them, totally not knowing if they, or any of their group, will make it back alive. It brings me to tears occasionally. Our country OWES veterans a hell of a lot more than they have given over time. Send the politicians up in those planes first! See if the chicken hawks will survive. If the country honors veterans, they can start by creating fewer of them.
jesse kyzer
Good history read at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminum_Overcast
Reed Hume
Mr. Cowling, your description of the crews is right on.I have a friend who had some 20 missions over Germany with the 8th before he turned 21. Few people can fully understand the courage these men possessed. I give them all the respect in my soul.
Something to consider. Many of these beautiful and deadly machines were designed in a matter of months by engineers working only with pencil, paper and a SLIDE RULE. No computers or auto-cad of course. Beyond the engineering there were facilities to be built and tooling to be developed. We were basically starting from scratch. Look what evolved, B-17's, P-51's, Corsairs, B-24's, P-47's on and on.
Amazing efforts and amazing results.
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