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Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
Posted By: Dewman, 08-15-2017, 11:53 AM

Late last fall, a heard the unmistakable sound of a multi-radial engine airplane outside. I ran out and recognized it as a Boeing B-17, so I grabbed my camera and followed it to an airport about 15 miles away.


What a magnificent bird! It had been restored to absolute perfection! To say I was impressed would be a gross understatement, but I think what left me with a lasting impression was the ball turret on the belly.... and especially the diagram of how the gunner was crammed into such a limited space. If they were forced to make a belly landing, he was as good as dead because there was no way to egress into the main cabin of the plane. What an incredible feeling to stand there and try to imagine what kind of courage it took to undertake that job.

Last edited by Dewman; 01-10-2018 at 08:39 PM.
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08-18-2017, 09:48 PM   #16
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I had an uncle who was a tailgunner based in China during WWII. I remember him telling me that the ball turrets (Also known as blisters) were commonly known as death traps. Many times a pilot tried to land his aircraft with no landing gear and there was no way to get the gunner out, because typically the turret latch failed and had no choice and landed his aircraft anyway. According to him, the latch mechanism stuck and could not be opened because of the heat in the fuselage causing metal expansion. He also said the problem could have been solved with a little grease. Hard to believe, but according to my uncle, it is the truth. In war, as in life, truth is stranger than fiction.

TT

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