B-17s in the post war years

Discussion in 'All Hands Club & Canteen Discussion Area' started by Lucky Partners, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    The other day forum member Terveurn (A/K/A Dave) made a short comment in another thread about B-17s flying as tankers used in fighting forest fires. Reminded me of a trip a few years ago driving from Cody to Sheridan when we happened upon an airfield at Graybull, Wyoming that to all appearances probably was a tanker base. All sorts of old aircraft of various types that appeared to be tankers, but no B-17s. After the war B-17s and others were plentiful enough and cheap enough to be used for all sorts of utility work. At some point they became expensive enough and rare enough that the survivors were snapped up for restoration.

    Anyway ... got me to thinking that a look at this use of old warbirds might be of interest to our group, particularly those who may not have ever actually seen a B-17. A few links including a Youtube video attached. There's a lot more out there. Comments from anyone who may have a more personal experience with these birds would be welcome.

    Hal

    http://www.air-and-space.com/Boeing B-17 Tankers.htm

    http://www.angelfire.com/dc/jinxx1/B17/B_17.html

     
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  2. Kevin Anderson

    Kevin Anderson New Member

    The first B-17 I got to touch and feel was a fire tanker. This was in the spring of either 1974 or 1975, at Alamogordo's community airport. My brother was in the Air Force and he was stationed at Holloman. The family went to visit him over Easter break, and the trailer court that he and his wife were living in was near the airport on the southwest edge of town, a short distance from the airport. I walked over to the airport early in the morning, across the open land (which was also before all of the fencing at airports today), and there were B-17 tankers stationed there at the time. I was bold and walked into the hanger and asked to see one of the planes. Lo and behold, they were going to have an FAA inspection of one of the planes later that day, and they needed to run up the engines anyway before the inspection. A pilot (or maybe he was just a mechanic, I don't remember for sure) and I climbed into the plane and I got to sit in the pilot's seat while I helped him start the engines. So cool to be sitting there with four turning! I even hoisted myself into the plane through the nose door in the same way, feet first, that you saw on Twelve O'Clock (both the movie and the TV show), which is something you don't get to do these days at airshows. I was maybe 14 or 15 at the time. I got to crawl around the nose and cockpit only, as the bomb bay held the tank, which blocked the way further back. And nearby was some of the wreckage from another tanker that had crashed in the previous two years before my visit.

    Kevin Anderson

    ADDED: I had not looked at both web pages before I posted the above. I see now that it must have been planes from Black Hills Aviation that I saw at their off-season maintenance base in Alamogordo. I honestly don't remember what they were painted at the time and I have no pictures from my visit. I assume they had either red or yellow markings, but I don't know. Forty year-old memories lack clarity.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
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  3. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Just checked the photos from that trip, it was 2012. Checked Google maps and this bird is still sitting at the same spot as 5 years ago! Obviously not 'mission ready'!


    tanker 3.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
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  4. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting http://www.museumofflight.us/aboutus.html

    Graybull firefighting airfield Aug 2014.jpg

    2009 street view, likely of Hal's pictured planes.
    Graybull airfield street image 2009.jpg
    2009 street view image from this point.jpg
    For those Liberator fans; check that - Privateer fans. Sadly in memory of Rick Schwartz & Milt Stollak KIA 2002 http://www.wlfalwaysremember.org/incident-lists/156-tanker-123-schwartz-stollak.pdf
    Rick Lee Schwartz, findagrave https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=90644904
    Milton Bernard Stollak, findagrave https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=178057123
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
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