Tag Archives: wright cyclone

Christmas light viewing from a C-47

21 Dec

Here’s some background on the plane itself:

Southern Cross is part of the John L. Terry Heritage Foundation, is based at Meacham International Airport, Fort Worth, Texas.
 
The aircraft was ordered before WWII by TWA with Wright Cyclone engines and was completed in December 1941. Due to the attack on Pearl Harbor, many aircraft were pressed into military service and this Douglas was no exception. It’s first job in military service was as a troop carrier and paratroop trainer. Its official designation by the U.S. Army Air Corps was C-49J.
 
After the war, it changed hands many times. Immediately following the war, it was returned to its original purpose of passenger carriage. Chicago and Southern Airlines operated it until the airline was bought by Delta in 1953. It flew under Delta colors until later being sold to the President of Mexico. At this time the interior received a makeover to suit presidential status, including upgrades such as a wrap-around couch, a bathroom, complete galley, and the portrait windows seen on the aircraft today. The engines were also updated at this time to the higher horsepower 1820-72 engines.
 
Following its presidential service, it was purchased by a skydiving operator who immediately ripped out all the interior upgrades in an effort to make the plane as light as possible. The operator installed even larger engines, a pair of 1820-76Ds, the same engines that are on the HU46 Albatross.
 
Finally, after being owned by several private parties, it joined the Greatest Generation Aircraft family

 

 

Looking out at the wings and seeing the D-Day stripes while flying was a pretty cool experience… something I’m glad I’m doing 67 years after D-Day and not when they were actually needed.

 

Sorry about the bad quality. iPhone cameras aren’t too great at night.

 

 

 

 

Here are some other shots from around the hangar. A-26, B-25, Sabre, etc… LOVE IT!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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