Wednesday, September 8, 2010
I was fortunate enough to spend 45 minutes in the "Sentimental Journey," a WWII restored B-17. Don't think I've ever been more thrilled; even broke into tears when I stood behind the pilots and looked at the instrument panal, then out the windscreen, realizing how many of my loved-ones had been in a cockpit exactly like that. I've always been told they were noisy birds, but believe me, you have to shout very loudly to be heard when that aluminum skin reacts to taking off and flying! First, I sat in the Navigator's seat, then in the plexiglass nose where the bombardier sat, centering his Norton bombsight. Next, walked the narrow catwalk across the bombbay (thank heaven there were ropes to hang onto since the ride was very rough) to where the waist gunners were stationed. Even sighted one of their 50 caliber machine guns at an imaginary enemy before spending some time where the radioman operated. All in all, it was an amazing, eye-opening ride, especially because my new book, "Broken Wings" has a graphic chapter of a B-17 bombing strike over German-occupied France. Will post some pictures later.