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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last night's news included the sad report that the Liberty Belle, a WWII B-17, crashed and burned beyond repair in a corn field in Illinois. While I always hate losing a piece of history, this one was particularly sad because of the great afternoon we spent visiting the Liberty Belle while we were in San Diego in 2010.

Here's a link to our web album of the visit...
https://picasaweb.google.com/betctru/LibertyBelle2010?feat=directlink

Here's a link to the news story. Heart-breaking...
http://www.wthr.com/story/14893917/vintage-plane-crashes-in-illinois.

Betsy
 

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To my knowledge, I've not seen the Liberty Belle, but this is sad. Once these historic planes are gone, they can never be replaced.
 

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For all us aviation lovers, the loss of an irreplaceable piece of history like Liberty Belle is especially sad. Mercifully, no one lost their life.

This appears to be the second in-flight fuel fire accident this week. A Goodyear Blimp in Germany was destroyed a few days ago after fire broke out in flight. The passengers (four, I believe) were able to leap to the ground from the height of a few meters, but the pilot was unable to escape and died.

WPG
 

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Sad week for aviation.

In better days:

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
A close up, from my album (link in first post) of the nose art for the Liberty Belle. This nose art was copied from the original Liberty Belle which flew in countless missions as part of the 390th bomb group.


balaspa said:
It is very sad. I read there were only 12 working models of the B-17 still in existence and now this has to happen.
At the time we saw it, we were told it was one of 14 working B-17s, sad that the numbers are going down...

Thanks for adding the in flight pics, Intinst.

Betsy
 

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Something to think about:

The Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress" was produced from 1936-1945, and the last planes were retired from active service (in Brazil) in 1968, for a maximum service life of around 20-30 years. Not bad at all for a military plane of that period, and the fact that any of them are still flying is both a testament to the people who salvage and maintain them and ruggedness of those airframes.

The Boeing B-52 "Stratofortress" was produced from 1952-1962, and 85 of them are still in active service with the US Air Force. Assuming these are all later airframes, we're still talking about planes about 50 years old, probably over twice the age of many of their crew members! By all rights, they should be relegated to air shows now, too, but those Boeing bombers seem to just keep wanting to fly. :)
 

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PS: I've always felt kind of sorry for the Consolidated B-24 "Liberator", of which there were about 50% more built than the B-17, carried a heavier bomb load than the Fortress, and delivered significantly more bomb tonnage during the war; and yet the B-17 got all the publicity. (Admittedly, the B-17 was generally liked better by the crews due to its ruggedness and better handling, but still....)

Growing up watching "12 O'clock High" on TV certainly helped the B-17's PR, of course. :)
 

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My dad was part of the ground crew for B-17 bombers in the 8th Air Force in England during WWII, so I've always been interested.

About 10-12 years ago, I got to fly with the Confederate Air Force in the B-17 "Sentimental Journey." I was up front in the bombardier/nose gunner position. I'm still pumped up about the flight.
 
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