News Stories

The Flying Fortress: B17 Bomber

Driving back home from the office, an unbelievable sight flew through the sky with a thundering diesel-filled roar.

It was a B17 bomber plane from World War 2 and I had to check to see if there was a man in a high castle somewhere.

Over the past few days, the Collings Foundation flew their World War 2 historical tour into Page Field in Fort Myers. On display and available to ride in, were the last operational B24 Liberator, one of nine B17 Flying Fortress left in existence, and a fully operational TF-51D Mustang “Toulouse Nuts” fighter. All three you were able to crawl into.

Crawling is what our flying boys did back in the forties. These planes did not have comfort in mind when the army designed them. For example, the ball turret gunner had to lay on his back, shifted his legs in a very uncompromising position.

Squeezing myself through the bomb bay. The path our veterans walked on from one end of the plane to the other is about seven inches across and flanked by stacks of 500-pound bombs. One wrong step and you and the bombs would fall through the bomb bay doors into the wild blue yonder.

The Collings Foundation continue their tour all year round across the country. They will be back next year at Page Field with their three planes. However, the stories they tell are still here in the hearts and minds of veterans and their families .