Saturday, July 29, 2006

Liberator

B-25 Bomber in flight
'B-25 Mitchell bomber in flight above the Palwaukee Airport'

A hot, but beautiful day was perfect for a trip back in time at the Palwaukee Airport this morning. David, Charles, and I toured the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-25 Mitchell, and the B-24 Liberator bombers after they landed from their morning flights. David's father, Aaron Caplan, was one of my favorite people in the world and he passed away last year about this time. Aaron was a proud member of the Pyramidiers, the 98th Bomb Group Bomb led by John 'Killer' Kane during WWII, and Aaron often talked about the boxy B-24 Liberators he serviced.

David Caplan in front of the B-24 Bomber
'David Caplan in front of the B-24 Liberator"

After hearing Aaron's many fascinating WWII stories over the years, we were thrilled to step into history and a significant piece of Aaron's life. The Pyramidiers were involved in many campaigns, including the famous Ploesti Raid in 1943.

B-17 Bomber with line of people climbing in
"People entering the B-17 Flying Fortress - Hollywood favorite"

Every year the Collings Foundation travels the country with these planes and lets people see them up close and fly in them, if you're up to it. We spoke to several people who took the morning flights and they all loved it. Smooth as glass take-offs and landings and, once you're up the air, you take your seatbelts off and roam around the plane in-flight. Dave and I have promised each other to put together the $425 ticket fee to fly next year. Everyone said it was a once in a lifetime experience and well worth the money.

B-17 gun turret bubble under the plane
"An example of amazing design - the B-17 Gun Turret Bubble"

The cool thing was there folks there of all ages, from veterans who had flown in these planes to little kids and families. We were surprised to see that about half the folks there were women. And everyone knew something about the planes, so it was easy to strike up conversations. A great morning!

B-24 pilot
"And, yes, this is one of the current pilots"

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Kathryn said...

I saw these fly over Evanston and wondered what was up. Now I know!

4:37 PM  
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10:57 AM  

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