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"I Flew in a B-25" Topic

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ge2002bill08 Jul 2024 5:45 a.m. PST

For my recent birthday, my wife gave me an opportunity to fly in a WWII B-25 Mitchell aircraft. My usual briefly captioned photos about the flight are here:


Bill P.
Chronicler for the Adventures of General Pettygree

huron725 Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2024 6:50 a.m. PST

Bill that is a once in a lifetime moment. At a airshow in Michigan a few years before covid they had a B25 there and I was able to get a look inside. It is super small from bulkhead to bulkhead. Those men that went to war in those must have had incredible intestinal fortitude.

This is the same show my wife bought tickets for myself and my youngest to fly on the B17 Yankee Lady. That was cool.

Raynman Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2024 7:12 a.m. PST

Very cool!

Personal logo enfant perdus Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2024 8:06 a.m. PST

Awesome! I had the pleasure of flying in Barbie III, a B-25H, back in 2010. It really does give you an amazing perspective. The thing that immediately struck me on boarding is how much it reminded me of the aluminum canoes we had at BSA summer camp. Just looking at the frame and the riveted skin from the inside, you can't help but think, "they took this into combat?" because it all seems so unsubstantial. Note that Barbie III has no covering panels for passenger safety, so you get to see the bare bones, as well as a warning to keep hands clear of the control cables that run the length of the fuselage.

donlowry08 Jul 2024 8:31 a.m. PST

Our local airport (in California) is the base for planes that fight brush fires. One of them is an old B-25, still flying after all these years.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2024 9:44 a.m. PST

We have one at an airport in Georgetown, Texas. Every time she flies over that special engine sound grabs your attention.

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2024 10:51 a.m. PST

I live near the airport and thought about it myself. I'm not a small man, but still pretty spry. I was worried about seating. They fly this bomber through her and the B17 a couple of times a year. Do you think I will be able to make my way around the B25 ok as a not so small guy?

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2024 12:28 p.m. PST

Cost, and the age of the airframes are of concern to me. As well as this, which is still recent history.


Skeets Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2024 12:34 p.m. PST

My father flew in B-25s in the So. Pacific in the war. They cot off the rear of the fuselage so they could mount .50. He then had to fly missions kneeling on his knees.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2024 1:17 p.m. PST

I flew in a B17 20 years ago. Very stable platform, quite a bit roomier. No earplugs, seemed okay. Very memorable, my dad and uncle both flew them over Europe, so it was extra special. Lots of freedom to move around except for the ball turret, which none of us could have fit in, I think.

Unfortunately, this was the aircraft that later crashed in Hartford killing most of the people on board. A tragic event.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2024 1:30 p.m. PST

I've flown on a B-17, B-25 & C-47 from the Yankee Air Museum in Belleville Michigan. An experience that was so cool. The B-25 is comfy for *ahem* large men (me being one of them, but you can't easily get from the back of the plane to the cockpit due to the bomb rack area which is enclosed.
These planes are very well maintained with routine engine overhauls, safety checks etc. We have never had a crash or in flight problem requiring an emergency landing.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART09 Jul 2024 5:02 a.m. PST

To Tortorella, it crashed in Windsor Locks Ct. It went over my head on the way in. A terrible event.

ge2002bill09 Jul 2024 7:07 a.m. PST

Thank you everyone for your remarks!
John: I'm glad you flew in a B-17. There is one here in Wisconsin. I remember walking through the fuselage at the earliest stage of renovation. Years later she began flying named Aluminum Overcast. Currently she is undergoing a refit.
Raynman: Yes very cool.
Enfant Perdus: All true. We were shielded by panels though I did see lots of the interior structure of Berlin Express. In spite of that I still bonked my head while climbing over something. No problem though.
Don: I did not know that. Very interesting and a good use.
Shagnasty: There must be a lot of operational B-25s in the USA. One story we were told was that the same number of B-25s that participated in the Doolittle Raid over Japan assembled at an airport, lined up just like the Doolittle Raiders on the same confined size as the flight deck of the Hornet and took off. One of the passengers in a co-pilot seat was a 103 year old airman who flew on the raid in Doolittle's Plane. I'd like to think I would have gone there to watch that.
Tgerritsen: Well. I'm 170ish in weight and sitting beside me was a man maybe 30-50 lbs heavier than me. We both struggled to climb over the interior wing support beam and other spots as high. Kind of like climbing onto your kitchen table. People helped each other with a hand. At the main access stairs were several seats which are easy to get to. My experience showed people will help. Cheerfully with hand signals because you can't hear much with earplugs.

The Ford Tri-Motor is a passenger plane. I attended the briefing of the first passengers. All men. Most elderly and weighing 200-300 lbs. Some walked painfully and slowly.
Rufus: A good story. Thank you.
Joe: That was on my mind daily. I deliberately chose to not ride Berlin Express at an air show. Truax Field was very quiet except for the nearby 1929 Ford Tri-Motor a few yards away at our little terminal. The Tri-Motor resembles a Ju-52 a little.

Whenever I board any aircraft, I pray during takeoffs and landings and trace the Sign of the Cross on the entry port. Sometime ago I was told that takeoffs and landings have a higher probability of errors.

Berlin Express took off smoothly in I think 13 seconds. We bounced a little while landing.
David: Thank you for your father's story.
Tortorella: Thank you for your story. Appreciated. Not always but air show crashes are collisions as opposed to equipment failure --- it seems to me.
Paul: You make a good point about care and maintenance. In our pre-flight briefing, a mechanic made a big deal about his daily check of the aircraft and said the EAA's routine is tougher than for commercial aircraft. His remarks were comforting.
Captain Beefheart: Oh gosh.
Bill P.
Chronicler for The Adventures of General Pettygree

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2024 9:59 p.m. PST

Happy birthday! What a great experience.

Erzherzog Johann10 Jul 2024 10:53 p.m. PST

I've flown in a DC3, which is not quite the same as flying in a C47, but close. My brother is a jazz saxophonist and in 1994 played in a big band that toured around New Zealand in a Glenn Miller 50th Anniversary tour. They flew in a DC3 into all sorts of small towns to perform, every morning dragging their gear up the sloping floor to stow it behind the cockpit. A great experience.

I also (in about 1995) got inside a Catalina and had a nosy around. To my unending regret I didn't pay the (to me at the time, unaffordable) ticket price to fly in it, which included touching down on Lake Wanaka. That would have been a great experience.


Cloudy14 Jul 2024 1:15 p.m. PST

I did the same years back in Cali. Went with a guy's uncle who was a WWII veteran which was pretty cool. Flew in the tail gunner's position which I really enjoyed. I have been in some pretty loud places in my life but none compared to the B-25.I yelled directly into a friend's ear and we could not exchange a single word of meaningful conversation…

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