I have 2 very true loves in my life. My wife, Jamie, of 28 years, and my beautiful 27-year-old attorney daughter, Alex. But I also have 2 passions. One is classic cars. Any brand, any year. The other is old airplanes. Mostly WW2 planes. Any year, any country. I’m a radio DJ here in Austin, Texas and my company is social media crazy these days. So they require me to do these blogs. I resisted at first but found out that I actually like writing about cars. They had a minimum of 1 blog a day and now it’s 2 blogs a day. So I write 2 blogs every day starting today. I’ve been doing cars for about 6 months. Now, I’m gonna do 1 car and 1 plane. As with my car blog, don’t check me for spelling or punctuation. I don’t care. I’m 65 now. Numbers are also gonna be just the number itself cause it’s easier to type.
I won't spoil it for you, but I have actually done volunteer media for the former Confederate Air Force (now Commemorative) and got to ride in many old aircraft. I’ll be telling you more about those in the future so you will want to keep up with this. So, I’m gonna kick it off with one of my favorites. The Boeing B-17. Right up front, I will tell you (and make you jealous) I have had 2 rides in the B-17 known as “The Thunderbird” based out of Houston. One flight was over the start of an Univ Of Texas football game with the national anthem. I was a waste gunner on the right side and they had the 50 cal hanging in the window. You climb up in the side and you are able to barely touch both sides of the plane. They give you headphones because when you hear them start that first engine, it is loud. As each engine fires, it’s really loud. I pulled the headphones off to one side to just see how loud. You would have to yell straight into somebody’s ear for them to hear you. It is a smooth rhythm once it starts rolling and is actually very relaxing on take-off. I would imagine not so much if you were 20 years old and headed on a military bombing sortie over Germany. It flew around 220 MPH and we had a fighter escort with us that kept having to cross back and forth to maintain speed slow enough to stay alongside of us. I looked up into the bomb bay area just ahead of where I was. There was a walkway rail through there to the front area for the navigator area behind the pilots. You would have to stoop down to walk up there but what was really scary was, when you looked down, there were bomb bay doors on both sides of this thin walkway. You could fall right out. Bombs Away!
Anyway, one of the coolest things was the pilot in an escort Corsair fighter noticed me playing with the 50 cal and dipped his wings to get my attention. He banked off and went way out and then made a full-speed pass back over us as I lined him up in my sites to try and “shoot him down”. There is no way I would have ever been able to hit an enemy plane coming in like that. It reminds me, the greatest generation is truly the greatest and we all owe them for their sacrifices. I will tell you about my second ride in a future blog as it has a funny story of how I got to ride in it. Thanks for reading if you made it this far. More to come….every single day.