Want to travel in time? To visit the future, you'll have to pay the Russians millions to fly you up to the International Space Station. But for just a few hundred bucks, anyone can turn back the clock 60 years by going for a flight aboard a World War II-era bomber.Photoset, full-size version of the image above, and Collings Foundation schedule.
"Nine O Nine" is a B-17G Flying Fortress that was restored by the Collings Foundation. One of only fourteen B-17s still flying in the United States, the group also flies a restored B-24 Liberator and a B-25J Mitchell.
I went for a flight aboard the B-17 when it visited Moffett Field, California in 2002, and it was worth every penny. The Collings Foundation has now finalized their 2006 schedule, which will take these three warbirds to dozens of airports across the U.S. this spring. (Mark your calendars, kids.)
Reader comment: Steve Musselman says,
I read your blurb on the the B-17 "thrillflights," featuring the "Nine O' Nine." I'd also like to bring the B-17 "Yankee Lady" owned and operated by the Yankee Air Museum. The also offer rides in historical aircraft, not just their B-17, but also a B-25 and a C-47. Last year, they suffered the misfortune of an accidental fire in their hangar, but they are still offering rides in their aircraft. Their website can be found at yankeeairmuseum.org.Reader comment: Hal Eckhart says,
My father flew about 50 missions on B-17s and B-29s over Europe and Japan and even once ditched a B-17 in the English Channel. One thing that young people don't realize is that these monsters are unpressurized. They flew at high altitudes on oxygen and endured subzero temperatures. My dad came back with perforated eardrums and lifelong back problems from maintaining constant pressure on the foot pedals on missions that ran as long as 18 hours. On occasion, they would even do two missions back to back with half an hour to sleep. LinkReader comment: Michael says,
The link is to some of my comments and thoughts about the link you posted regarding the WWII bombers. My grandfather flew a b-24 named "The Shady Lady" after he joined the air force at the age of 17. He didn't talk about his time in the war often and when he did you could feel how uncomfortable he was. The 'good' wars take their toll just like the bad ones, even if you win.Reader comment: Ed says,
After reading your interesting write up of the Thrillflight B17, I was reminded of another B17 touring the country and offering rides. "EAA is offering historic flight experiences in its beautifully restored B-17G Flying Fortress “Aluminum Overcast.” This aircraft is an example of the American heavy bomber that helped turn the tide of battle in World War II. Fly a mission back in time and feel the might of this magnificent aircraft, just as those brave young men did more than 50 years ago." Link