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World War II Aircraft Still Flying: B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, B-29 Superfortress and P-51 Mustang

Sat October 08 2011 7:25 pm
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One of the last remaining B17 bombers from World War II is still being flown and even includes features similar to what it had back in 1941.

In late July in Chicago World War II aircraft were exhibited at Chicago Executive Airport and DuPage Airport. Videos below show a B-29 bomber at DuPage airport; and a B-17 bomber, a B-25 Liberator bomber, and a P-51 fighter at Chicago Executive Airport.

Commemorative Air Force B-29 Superfortress on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at DuPage Airport, 2700 International Drive.

The B-29 was the primary aircraft in the American firebombing campaign against the Empire of Japan in the final months of World War II, and carried out the atomic bombings that destroyed Hiroshima (Enola gay dropped the nuclear weapon “Little Boy” on August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (Bockscar dropped nuclear weapon “Fat Man on August 9, 1945).

The Commemorative Air Force’s B-29 ‘Fifi’ is the last-remaining flying B-29. Today’s pilots flying the aircraft describe flight after takeoff as being an urgent struggle for airspeed (generally, flight after takeoff should consist of striving for altitude). The aircraft’s four radial engines need airflow to keep them cool, and failure to get up to speed as soon as possible could result in an engine failure, overheating and risk of fire. One useful technique was to check the magnetos while already rolling rather than from a “braked” start.

Magnetos (rotating magnets) adapted to produce pulses of high voltage are used in the ignition systems of some gasoline-powered internal combustion engines to provide power to the spark plugs. A magneto ignition system is considered more reliable than a battery-coil system.

At startup, ground mechanics also manually turn the propellers so that oil doesn’t remain pooled at the bottom of the radial engine. Pooled oil could burn out the engines.

World War II aircraft part of the Wings of Freedom Tour from the Summer of 2011 in Chicago showing a B-24, a P-51, and a B-17.

The Collings Foundation’s B-24J is the only restored flying B-24J in the world. Initially, when it was restored in 1989, the Colling Foundation honored the 15th A.F. in Italy with the selection of the ALL AMERICAN — a very distinguished aircraft with a record of having shot down 14 enemy fighters on a single mission (only two B-24’s came back out of a squadron of 19).

The B-17G “Nine O Nine” aircraft was a B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber of the 323rd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group, completed 140 combat missions during World War II, believed to be the Eighth Air Force record for most missions, and never lost a crewman as a casualty. B-17G-85-DL, 44-83575, civil register N93012, owned and flown by The Collings Foundation, Stow, Massachusetts, currently appears at airshows marked as the historic Nine-O-Nine.

The original aircraft was a block 30 B-17G manufactured by the Boeing Company — nicknamed after the last three digits of the serial number: 42-31909. The aircraft was added to the USAAF inventory on December 15, 1943, and was flown overseas on February 5, 1944. After depot modifications, the B-17 was delivered to the 91st BG at RAF Bassingbourn, England, on February 24, 1944, as a replacement aircraft. The original Nine-O-Nine was one of the last B-17s that received in factory-applied camouflage paint.

After the end of World War II, Nine-O-Nine was returned to the United States on June 8, 1945, and was consigned after the war to the RFC facility at Kingman, Arizona on December 7, 1945. The original B-17 was eventually scrapped.

See additional video of the B-29 at DuPage Airport …

The only flyable B-29 is shown taking off and landing at the Dupage Airport in West Chicago, Illinois.

In West Chicago, Illinois on July 22, 2011. 8 minutes real-time compressed to about 1 minute. The view is looking slightly west of south as a storm rolled in from the west, and the the B-29 ‘FIFI’ landed.

There are more aircraft flying, too. See more via the links below.

See also …

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