Thursday, June 17, 2010


Manufactured right here in Wichita. The airplane, not Max.
The Boeing B-17. You've seen the plane in a lot of the WWII movies.
Max and the Liberty Belle parked at Jabara airport over Memorial Day weekend
One of my favorite movies from this era was "12 Oclock High" It was about the people that manned a squadron of B-17's flying regular missions from England to bomb Germany during WWII. Many lives and planes were lost.
Wichita played a vital role in that process as a lot of those B-17's were made here. In fact, a lot of Wichita's growth as a city is a result from this war effort. Labor was cheap, the work ethic was strong with midwestern values, etc.
If you had a spare $400 you could take a ride on this beautifully restored B-17 this last Memorial Day. Lots of people did. At the time it was quite a weapon. There were hundreds of these in the skies. Much of Germany was laid to rubble. Ahhh,,, you know the history. Max and I went out for a short ride one morning that Memorial Day weekend to get a shot of the plane. I had seen it in the sky the day before. It was slow, loud and impressive. Up close, it looks like someone did a beautiful job in restoring a 65 plus year old plane. A ride in it would be quite a rush! But I have Max, and a ride on him is a pretty good rush too.


  1. Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo):

    I am sorry you did not include a picture of the plane's back office. It was there my Dad got his first look at the "Fatherland," glancing out over twin .50 caliber machine guns. He was 17.

    He flew from Florida to Britain. And from there to North Africa (Egypt). He told me how he used his oxygen line to help light a cigarette at 25 or 30,000 feet.

    The waist guns were fired though off-center openings in the middle of the plane. This meant the wind blew in at over 200 miles per hour. Most people didn't know that the tail wheel was retractable in a B-17E. But it had no door, just a canvas cover that rotted out.

    My dad got cold in 1943, and never warmed up again in his life... Not even after serving as a professional fire fighter for 33 years. He died at age 57.

    I think of him often.

    Nice blog today. Your bike looks good against the profile of the plane. As far as I know, my dad never got to Wichita.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  2. Jack,
    My father was a gunnery officer on a small aircraft carrier on the Pacific ocean during WWII. The ship's purpose was to transport damaged and repaired aircraft back and forth from various places. The only incident he told me about was being attacked by a kamakaze pilot, but the pilot missed hitting his ship.

    He died at age 63 when I was 17 yrs old. He became very alcoholic later in his life and althouogh he didn't see a lot of "action" in WWII, I'm sure he saw a lot of bad stuff. It has to have an effect on you.

    Another good movie is "Memphis Belle" which has a lot of very good actors in it. It depicts very well the mid body openings in the plane as well as the turrets on the plane that you mentioned.

    At one time Boeing employed over 30,000 people here. In a city that now is roughly 300,000, that was very significant.

    Work and teaching has had me bogged down a bit recently. I appreciate your comments.


  3. Dear Jimbo:

    "Memphis Belle" is one of my favorite movies. I own the CD.

    Fondest regards,