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That's awesome. Both my grandfathers flew those, too. Not the jet pack.
 

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I don't think I've ever met anybody who could say both their grandfathers flew B-17's. Quite a heritage there!
Yep. My Dad was a pilot, too. Both my grandfathers served. My Paupa was a pilot and did a lot of the mechanical upkeep because he was good at it. I think he flew every plane he could get his hands on. My Grandpa parachuted out of an exploding plane and lost a good bit of his hearing and sense of humor. ;)

I am not a pilot. But I have flown a flew little planes with supervision. I like MCs more. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I had a chance to fly in a B-17 up in Racine, Wisconsin one time a few years back but had to pass it up because it was $400 for a half-hour flight and I didn't have the money. They had open seats, too. I guess once you're in the air, they let you move around from crew station to crew station.

Still regret not doing it, but that's a lot of money. I did get to fly in an old Ford Trimotor passenger plane here a couple of years ago and that was pretty cool and only $60 for a half-hour flight.

I've flown over 1,500 hours in Army helicopters and that's pretty fun, but my favorite flight of all time was in a glider in Illinois. That was an absolute blast and remains my favorite aviation experience.

Most awe-inspiring aircraft I made a few trips in was the C-5 Galaxy. Those things are "Holy Shit!" enormous. They'll hold six Army Blackhawk helicopters. There's a passenger compartment up over the cargo hold that seats about 70 people and you sit backwards and there are only a couple of small round windows in the emergency hatches so you can't see outside.

The first time I took off in one we kept rolling and rolling and rolling and the engines were howling and I was thinking, "This thing's never gonna take off and we're all gonna die."

Coolest aircraft I ever flew in was a C-17 Globemaster when they came out new in the mid-90's. The interior of that thing was straight science-fiction movie. They'll hold 3 Blackhawks.

The only two aircraft I've ever "flown" (i.e., being allowed to take the controls for a few brief, shining moments) were a Huey helicopter and a Citabria fabric-covered two-seat tail-dragger my neighbor took me up in when I was a kid and the Old School, blunt-nosed, 60's vintage fabric glider. I think I'd pick airplanes over motorcycles, but motorcycles are a lot cheaper!
 

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My Dad was a helo pilot. He flew em all, but spent a lot of time in a CH53. Those things are crazy big. And apparently leak oil like crazy, too.

I never flew with my dad, but we did a glider ride one time, too and I agree, it was absolutely amazing.
 

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If you're interested. Right before my Paupa died, the last year or so, I started pumping him for info. My Nana was dying. He never talked about his service, but I asked if I could write his story. This piece I wrote is based on the stories he told me about waiting to deploy and never getting there.

http://www.jdmader.com/2011/03/trim-it-out.html
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If you're interested. Right before my Paupa died, the last year or so, I started pumping him for info. My Nana was dying. He never talked about his service, but I asked if I could write his story. This piece I wrote is based on the stories he told me about waiting to deploy and never getting there.

http://www.jdmader.com/2011/03/trim-it-out.html
Cool story! Thanks for sharing it.

The only time I was close to a CH-53 was at the Sikorsky plant in Stratford, Connecticut and I would have to agree they are immense. The rotor head alone is like 20 feet across and is complicated as hell. Made the ones I worked on look like RC helicopters.

There's a B-17 at the SAC museum up in Lincoln, Nebraska and it's one of those that is undergoing a "full" restoration. It's not flyable, of course, but they're trying to make it as immaculate as possible. Unfortunately, they had it roped off the day I was there but it's still cool to have one to go see in person:

 

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Thanks for reading it. :)

They are cooler in person, for sure. I grew up around pilots and airshows and whatnot. Never really wanted to fly though. Unless I wake up one day with feathers, that probably won't change. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I also found it kind of interesting/ironic that the Jetman was flying alongside the B-17 since the Nazis really hammered on the jet engine technology to develop aircraft to outperform the long-range P-51 Mustang and shoot down the big Boeings.

I think an Italian actually developed the first viable jet-powered plane, but the Nazis put a lot of effort in to it with the weird rail-launched, disposable Me163 Comet and the far more-advanced Me262 which is really a nice shark-looking aircraft credited with over 550 "kills" before things Went South for the Third Reich.

 

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That's a wicked looking plane, for sure. :25a:
 

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My Dad flew a restored Mustang some years back. He said it scared the living bejeezuz out of him*. Always loved those planes though. They just look like they're hunting sitting still.

*From a man who flew things without ****ing WINGS. lol
 

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The Tuskegee airmen...I've had that filed in the "learn more about this shit" dusty part of my brain for years. Thanks for the reminder. :doublethumb:

That vid is awesome, BTW. Thanks for putting that up.
 

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And it's Kawi Green! ;)
 
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