Thursday, May 16, 2013

B17 Flying Fortress

Yesterday was a banner day for photography between birds and bombers. I left the house well before six so I could go down to the airport in Ukiah to photograph EAA's restored B17 World War Two Bomber "Aluminum Overcast". The B17 was the first mass produced four engine heavy bomber used during WWII. It got the name from a Seattle newspaper reporter who when seeing all its machine guns deemed it a "Flying Fortress". The aircraft is currently on tour of the US with an all volunteer crew and support staff. The aircraft is only one of fourteen left flying in the world today from the thousands built during the war.Over a third were lost after being shot down during the war. Another third were lost due to accidents and crashes. After the war most of the rest were scrapped. Aluminum Overcast never saw combat as it was manufactured close to the end of the war and was never put into a combat role. After seeing the aircraft it was hard to imagine the feelings of all of the young flight crews that flew these aircraft into combat. Holding your position among other aircraft while under fire from flak and fighters must have been a terrifying experience.Even though it was well armed each .50 machine gun on the aircraft only carried roughly a minutes worth of ammunition.The ammunition was stored on a belt next to the gun that was roughly nine yards long. That's where the saying giving them the whole nine yards comes from. What an incredible piece of history and a living monument to those brave men and women of the "Greatest Generation" that served during world War Two and many wars and conflicts after. A Special thank you to them and to the EAA for bringing it to Ukiah,CA. God bless, chris


  1. I missed seeing this originally. Learned a couple new things, the "whole 9 yards" and didn't know that many of them were lost during the war. Guess my uncle was lucky. Great images! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks, Shelly. I too was surprised at the great losses the Allies took during the daylight bombings. The crews took an incredible risk going on bombing missions over Germany.