B17 Super Low Flyby – Don’t Mess With Texas

5 Nov

The video is at the bottom but I”m pretty sure the still shots are at least 781 times crazier.

These are from the making of an old “Dont Mess With Texas” TV commercial.

As for the location, it was quite a ways south of Midland and a bit of a story, if you don’t mind. I had been flying the Wildcat for a bit less than a year when asked if I could take it from the Dallas/Fort Worth Wing hangar in Lancaster, Tx out to Midland. Reg Urschler flew the P-51 to Midland from his base up near Omaha, NE. So when we were launched from Midland to go to the filming site several tens of miles south of Midland, neither of us were familiar with the area. I flew wing off Reg and in these days before GPS and other wonderful things in our warbirds, all we had was a sectional. After a bit, Reg and I were trying to locate ourselves in an area of mostly desert and Reg said something like “Wait here, I’ll be right back!” and dove down toward a small town below us and circled the water tower. When he rejoined, he said “I know where we are” (frankly I don’t remember) and off we went until we were able to talk with Herschel Whittington of the CAF staff on his handheld (seen late in the video) and started our runs.

The initial plan was for the P-51 and FM-2 to follow the B-17 in very closely for the shot. The hill that the B-17 pops up over was probably only about 100-200 feet above the desert to the south where we made our approach. Reg and I quickly figured out that at 40-50 feet AGL or even a bit higher, right behind the B-17 we were not having much fun or luck! Talk about turbulence. So then we started to try and work off the wing of the B-17, etc. In any event, we didn’t make it into the final cut but it sure was an interesting day! Trying to keep up with Reg when he cobbed the power was not fun, either! Hope you enjoy knowing a bit more about the good old days.


Video of multiple flybys for the filming:

And finally, here’s the actual commercial:

 

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3 Responses to “B17 Super Low Flyby – Don’t Mess With Texas”

  1. Sandy Delvillar November 6, 2011 at 1:12 am #

    Wow. That is very low. Must have been some great pilots. Thanks so much for sending this to me. Have a great Sunday.
    Sandy

  2. Geow ball turret gunner March 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    The last time I flew this low to the ground in a B-17G was in a landings and take offs, and that was at lease 60 years ago. I was INSIDE the aircraft!

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