Thursday, July 13

The "Liberty Belle" B 17 Flying Fortress

Freedom is not Free

When I take my lunch hour to rest and relax I usually tour David Wayne Hook’s airport. I enjoy taking my motorcycle and touring the runways, hangers, etc. They have some pretty special planes there and it is interesting to see what’s where.

A tour of the hangers is like riding through air history. There are "Texas Air Aces" who regularly put on dogfight exhibits. The planes vary from, Migs, Corsairs, Messerschmits, to Lear Jets and at one time ever 6 privately owned Blackhawks. (After they get so many hours they are decommissioned and sold)

The airport is still a private airport and those of us that are familiar there are allowed to run the ramps, taxiways etc as long as we go slow, respect the planes and always give them right of way and plenty of room.

About 60 days ago I was blessed with running upon the “Liberty Belle”

She was made as a 5 engine B17 and was completed after the war had ended therefore the government sold her as scrap. The buyer of this brand new “scrap” flying fortress climbed on her wings, looked in her fuel tanks and saw she was full of fuel so he bid $ 1,000.00 and won her.

She was than sold to Pratt Whitney for testing and Pratt Whitney cut her nose engine off. Originally she could fly with either her 4 wing engines or her nose engine or both.

After testing and modifications she went back to the private sector.

When she cranks her engine it is a sight to see. Crank one engine at a time so that the engine that is running keeps the batteries charged to start the next one. Smoke billows everywhere and you would think she is going to blow up as she shakes the ground.

And when she flies it is a sight and sound to see.

The B-17 was my fathers “starter bomber” and he progressed to the B29. And after doing stints in TAC and SAC wound up in the B-47’s. The air is another world. He chose his own funeral plot. Right underneath the landing pattern within sight of Bush Intercontinental Airport.

I was lucky to get some real good shots of the “Liberty Belle” and if you note she looks like she’s suspended as if her motors turn the engines so slow that they look like they are not running.

Go to her site and watch the videos and enjoy.

As per David Wayne Hooks " Mans destiny is in the air"

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