A NEW AIRCRAFT COMMANDER
All officers were assigned a BOQ room on base, even those
with family quarters living off the base. I had drawn my
bedding from quartermaster and a proficiency check ride
was scheduled before noon. I had never landed a B-17 and
I was here reporting in to become a B-17 aircraft
commander. Many hours were spent studying the B-17
manual during the 10 day delay in route. Memorizing check
lists, power settings and control settings. I was comfortable
in the thought that I could fly the aircraft.
My proficiency check ride consisted of shooting five
landings and an instrument orientation and blind let down to
the runway. The whole thing went a lot better than you or I
either one would have expected under the circumstances.
The B-17 Flying Fortress is probably the most stable, easy
to fly and forgiving combat aircraft that was ever built. The
huge dorsal fin on her posterior enshrined her to be
affectionately known as The Big ass bird She bristled with
10 to 12 - .50 caliber machine guns and made a rock steady
platform for accurate, high altitude, formation, precision
bombing. A real thing of beauty.
The B-17s four-twelve hundred horse power - nine
cylinder - Wright Cyclone supercharged engines - gave her
the power to safely take off, and at times tremendously
overloaded to climb to 30,000 feet and still handle like the
gallant lady of the skies.
Next...Second and Third
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