Tag Archives: b-17

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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My flight on a B-17G (Nine-0-Nine)

21 Sep

From 3-15-2008

I don’t think words can do it justice.

It was just one of those “moments” that make you stop and really think about what’s going on. I’m geeky about nostalgia and stuff… I felt like I was going back in time.

We got our pre-flight briefing, then the flight engineer asked for two volunteers. Of course my hand shoots up. He says, “Ok you’re in first. All the way up front to the flight deck. Your seat is going to be directly behind the pilots.” I sat behind the pilot and right under the top turret.

Sitting there on the floor of a B-17 listening to the pilots run through their preflight checklist. Feeling the Wright Cyclones start up, 1200 hp at a time. Hearing the roar of 4800 hp when the throttles were ramped up for take off. The sounds, smells, sights, feels… man, it was a great experience.

I took a ton of pictures at first then decided to just soak it up. For some reason everyone else was hanging out in the rear fuselage at the waist gun positions To get to the nose you have to crawl under the flight deck. Maybe people just didnt want to squeeze through there? One guy asked his wife if she wanted to go down there and she said, “Why, what’s in there?”
Pffft. The best damn view on this bitch, that’s what!

I sat with the flight engineer up front for a good 10 minutes just taking it all in. Flying low over Dallas in the nose bubble of a B-17G… yeah, I won’t be forgetting that anytime soon.

I got to the airport around 745 am. Here’s the B-24, B-17 and B-25. The P-51 was not scheduled to arrive until 1040am.

That little spot on the floor next to the flag was mine

The instant the plane lifted off we were free to unbuckle and move around (except the tail and ball turret).

Views from the top turret:

Back

Forward

Views from the nose:

Cockpit view in a nice bank:

The 1,200 hp Wright R-1820-97 Cyclone engines in action

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