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Spitfire Spares Visit to the USA 
 

In May 2014 Spitfire Spares visited the USA. The trip was sponsored by John Kennedy MD from New York who owns his own extensive collection of WWI and WWII memorabilia.

During the trip we visited the Memorial Day Air show at at Macarthur Airport Long Island, and thanks to Dr John Kennedy we  lucky enough to fly in a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress a trip of a life time.

On entering the aircraft we took up positions around the aircraft , I was strapped into the navigators position. The engines roared into life one by one and we taxied to the end of the runway. The B17 looks like a huge aircraft but with all the crew on board guns and equipment it was quite cramped. Once on the runway the Pilot and co pilot throttled up to full power. I was expecting a gradual acceleration but was surprised by the real kick in the pants not much slower than the jet we travelled to the USA in. Soon we were airborne flying over Long Beach. We were allowed to unbuckle and move around the various crew stations, this B17 still carries all her armament and the engines retain there original turbo chargers hence the rapid acceleration on take off.

To gain access to the cockpit and upper gun turret you have to pass over the bomb bay, this is achieved by walking along a narrow walkway which is a tight squeeze, the view back over the tail from the upper turret is awesome and its quite apparent it would be quite easy to shoot holes in your own tail. I wonder how many times in the heat of battle the gunners shot pieces from their own aircraft.

By far the best position in the aircraft is in the bomb aimers position looking out of the big Perspex dome straight down onto the sea, the view was amazing and with the engines roaring around you just a fantastic experience.

The flight lasted a good forty minutes and the landing was perfectly smooth with a squeal from the tyres as she touched down. This really was the experience of a lifetime and gives you a great appreciation for what those brave aircrews achieved.

There was  a large number of other WW2 planes and military vehicles on display around the airfield

                           Vought F4U Corsair with Wings Folded                                                                                                Vought F4U Corsair Close Up

                                    Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress                                                                                                                   Douglas C-47 Transport Plane

                                 Republic P-47 Thunderbolt                                                                                                                             North American B-25 Mitchell

               SpitfireSpares Crew with Douglas C-47 Dakota                                                                                                          Republic P-47 Thunderbolt

                            Republic P-47 Thunderbolt Close Up                                                                                        Republic P-47 Thunderbolt Jacky's Revenge

                                        M4 Sherman Tank                                                                                                                           This Has Some Serious Firepower

 

                                 North American P-51 Mustang                                                                                                                                         Boeing Stearman Model-75

      SpitfireSpares Crew and Dr John Kennedy with B-17                                                                                                           Pre-Flight Checks outside the Plane

                      Dr John Kennedy MD in front of the B-17                                                                                                                                          B-17 Undercarriage

The Back end of the B-17. You can see the guns pointing out the back                                                                               North American B-25 Mitchell on the Runway

Flying Fortress Controls

              Dr John Kennedy At the Controls of the Flying Fortress                                            The Flying Fortress is not a matter of Easy Wiring

                                                                     

 

                            In the Cockpit Before Take Off                                                                                                                                      A pilots eye view from the Flying Fortress

A Nice View of the Hudson River

                                A View of the Engines in Flight                                                                                                                  Bomb Aimers View During Flight note the Norden Bombsight

                                                              

            Dr John Kennedy in the role as bomb aimer                                                                                  Looking Back Front the Upper Turret                                

                                   Radio Operators Station                                                                                                                                Ball Turret

 

 This is the Walkway over the Bomb bay that separates                                                                                                                            Bomb Hoisting Safety  Diagram

the cockpit from the rest of the aircraft.                                   

            

                        Sighting Down the Waist Guns                                                                                                                                                            Its a Long Way Down

 

 

                         The View From the Cockpit Back                                                                                                                        A  Front View of the Flying Fortress

                                             Curtiss P-40 Warhawk Close Up                                                                                                              North American T-6 Texan ( Harvard)

                                                                                                                          

                       T-6 Texans Lined up.                                                                                                                                                     Curtiss P-40 Warhawk                       

 

 

 


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