Each year, EAA sends their B17-G "Aluminum Overcast" around the nation on summer long tour to show the flag and memorialize the men and aircraft who contributed so much duing WW11. Each stop is hosted by a local EAA chapter.
This year, Aluminum Overcast was severely damaged during check ride prior to the tour. For whatever reason, the gear did not extend far enough for the drag struts to go over center and lock. The Airplane landed succesfully, no one at that point realized there was a problem. Upon taxiing in to the ramp, however, the right gear collapsed, and then the left immediately after. The engines, of course were still providing power, and 11 out of 12 propellor blades were destroyed. 4 engines required overhaul for inspection due to the sudden stoppage. Adding in the airframe damage, and the tour looked to be a washout this year.
Our local museum here in Elmira, "Wings of Eagles Discovery Center" (formerly the National Warplane Museum) stepped up to the plate and offered our B17-G, "Fuddy Duddy" as a platform for EAA to continue the summer tour as scheduled.
perfect 3 point landing attitude. These guys greased every one of their landings.
One of the most striking features of these tours is the memories of the veterans who flew them. It brings guys back after 60 years who swore when they stepped of their last mission that they'd never get back on one. Lots of children and grandchildren bring the veteran out or even buy them a ride. It often leads to reminiscing about events the family had never even heard. I talke to a gentleman this morning who had flown 35 missions on B-17's as a radioman, and made it back everytime. That was almost impossible odds at the time. Almost no one even made it to the 25 mark where (in the earlier part of the war) you could go home.
EAA added Elmira as a stop on the tour, and this weekend EAA chapter 533 helped host the return of Fuddy Duddy to its home base at Wings of Eagles Discovery Center. This is only a stop on the way, there are still a few dates left on tis years schedule. So it will be leaving again Monday, weather permitting, before returning "permanently" late in November.
Because of insurance costs, Fuddy Duddy has not flown much over the past couple years, so I took the opportunity to get a few shots. Here's one of the nose art
[ 10-17-2004, 10:50 PM: Message edited by: stephen thomas ]
Beautiful plane. I can't imagine anybody that flew 35 missions!
Allow me to correct you on the power plants! Those are Wright Aeronautical 9 cylinder 1823 cubic inch "Cyclones" - NOT Pratt & Whitneys!
I had a gear collapse on landing once. The prop blades contacted the runway. On 16Apr1984 @ 1745Zulu. Sticks in your mind good.
Great pictures, thanks for sharing them.
Oh, geez, John! I'm supposed to know that, too! Thanks for the correction. Can I say I had P & W's on my mind from staring up the nacelles of the A26 Invader, and a North American AT6 just before leaving today???
To all who didn't see the original title, I called them "...Pratt & Whitney fan motors". And John is absolutely correct that they are Wright cyclones. I edited to take the "P & W" out of the title to avoid further confusion....and embarassment for myself
My apologies to all for the misinformation.
Youngden, i can only imagine what that might feel like! On my last flight in a cessna 140,(almost 2 months ago) I experienced a violent tailwheel shimmy on landing, then the tailwheel locked up and we skidded for a while, then the airplane took a hop, and the tail "seemed" to crash down on the runway just as the plane stopped. During the episode i maintained straight ahead, but the aiplane slowly drifted right, it would not steer left other than with the brakes. Tower wanted me to expedite due to commuter behind, but I stated something had broken and declined to move before getting the door open to look back. It honestly "felt" like the tailwheel had fallen off.
Turned out to be one of the springs disconnected, then the wheel ran over the chain and skidded untill it (chain) broke, giving it a last sideways hop. We taxied in on the brakes once it was clear the wheel was still attached!
Glad you (apparently?)rode the gear incident out safely. I'll be glad to experience something like that only vicariously!
smt, thanks for the great pictures.
I've helped pull the blades through a few times on those birds.
A couple of my good friends from Chino fly the Collins Foundation B-17 and B-24. It has never quite worked out for me to get some stick time in them though.
Tailwheel shimmy sucks. Nothing like impressing your passenger with a great landing and then the whole plane starts shaking due to the tailwheel.
On my the commercial checkride the examiner didn't make me pump down the gear as she knew how many times I had to do it for real during my training. Gotta love those Gutlass RG's.
Thanks for the photos, beautiful aircraft.
Great pics. I'm so glad there are folks who are dedicated enough to keep these old birds in the air.
My Grandpa was a flight engineer and did his 25 from the top turret. He said the Army (Air corps then) was so hard up for men who had experience with machines that he didn't even go through basic training! He went straight to techical school then gunnery school and off to war. He was fixing tractors in Alabama one day and B-17's in England the next. He said he was promoted to sergeant as soon as he got to England because NCO's got better treatment in POW camps. He was a really short man and was afraid of having to man the ball but he did really well on his mechanical aptitude tests so he was assigned flight engineer.
Those were brave guys to what they did...
Just thought some of you fellows who are into vintage military aircraft might want to know Col. Robert Morgan, who flew the Memphis Belle, passed away here a few months ago. He had just returned to the Asheville airport from a trip where he had talked with some group about his WW II flying experiences. He slipped on some ice on a sidewalk at the airport, falling and striking his head on the concrete. He lived a few weeks but from the reports he never regained full consciousness after the fall. Seems rather ironic that something so innocuous could take out a man that Hitler's war machine didn't seem to be able to touch.