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Old 01-24-2007, 03:29 AM
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Default Commemorative Air Force

No, this isn't some civil war slingshot!
http://www.azcaf.org/
Old planes are restored and flown. In AZ you can find the CAF at Falcon Field in Mesa, right up the road from me. Their crown jewel is a fully functional B-17 that you can purchase rides in.

Some pics.

Sentimental Journey rolled off the Douglas assembly line in late 1944, and was accepted by the Army Air Corp on March 13, 1945. Manufactured too late to see service in the European war, the aircraft was assigned to the Pacific theater for the duration of the war. In 1947, the aircraft was removed from storage in Japan and assigned to Clark Field in Manila as a photo-mapping plane. For nearly three years she served in that capacity, flying to all corners of the Pacific in the configuration of a RB-17G.

Sentimental Journey was then transferred to Eglin Field, Florida, and was converted to a DB-17G for service as an air-sea rescue craft. During the 1950’s, B-17 serial number 4485314 was converted once again to become a DB-17P, serving with the 3215th Drone Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida. During this time Sentimental Journey participated in “Operation Greenhouse,” the fourth postwar atmospheric nuclear weapon test series conducted by the United States during the spring of 1951. This test used unmanned, radio controlled B-17 drone aircraft to measure blast and thermal effects and to collect radioactive cloud samples. During the test, a drone aircraft would be taken off by ground control. A “mother ship,” already airborne, would then come from behind, take control of the drone and fly it to the target area. Sentimental Journey served as a mother ship for this nuclear testing. On January 27, 1959, final military orders were cut, transferring the airplane to military storage at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. Within a few months, 85314 was acquired by the Aero Union Corporation of Chico, California, and became a civilian aircraft as N-9323Z, the registration which remains with her to date. For the ensuing eighteen years, an aircraft that had been designed to survive no more than a hundred missions, flew literally thousands of sorties against forest fires throughout the country.

On January 14, 1978, at a membership banquet for the newly formed Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, Colonel Mike Clarke announced the donation of the aircraft to the CAF for assignment to the Arizona Wing.

A contest was initiated by the local media to name the aircraft, which resulted in more than 800 entries, and the ultimate selection of the name Sentimental Journey. The decision was made to use the most famous pinup picture of World War II for the nose art. Permission was secured from widower Harry James to add Betty Grable in her most tantalizing pose to complete the newly acquired bomber.

B-17G Sentimental Journey entered service with the CAF in 1978. Arizona Wing members immediately undertook the chores of cleaning, polishing and repainting in WW II markings and honing the ship into excellent mechanical condition. They also initiated extensive crew training so that Sentimental Journey was prepared to fly with the CAF fleet.

But even the aircraft’s excellent condition wasn't good enough. Without four operational turrets, operational bomb bay doors, navigator and radio operator stations, Norden bomb sight and machine guns, Sentimental Journey was not an authentic Flying Fortress. Most people would have been content to continue the project bit by bit over several years but the Arizona's were eager to complete the restoration of all military systems used on the B-17’s during WW II. In December 1981, the Wing voluntarily grounded the airplane to undertake the restoration.

Early projects included restoration and re-painting in combat color, installation of the chin and ball turrets and restoration of the navigator’s station back to original condition. Members soon learned that restoring an airplane meant trips to junkyards, bargaining, trading or begging with anyone who had a needed item, or contacting businesses that might be able to fabricate a part that could not be located. By the end of 1981, they were ready to put all the pieces together.

Under skilled hands, Sentimental Journey literally began to come apart. The grounding orders listed these areas of concentration: painting, reskinning, wiring, radio room, bomb bay doors and top, ball and tail turrets.

The interior was stripped of all paint and grease. Paint stripper was sprayed throughout the interior and members armed with toothbrushes stepped in to clean the nooks and crannies. The aluminum skin was removed from around the nose, cockpit and back to the top of the bomb bay for new sheet metal. The entire aircraft was rewired and a new instrument panel constructed, complete with lettering and artwork. The radio room was outfitted with a new radio operator’s table and radio racks.

Throughout the restoration, Boeing Aerospace in Seattle donated valuable assistance by providing pictures and engineering drawings. During a visit by Sentimental Journey to the Seattle plant in 1979, shop personnel installed a new nose turret, the first major piece of equipment of the restoration.

The most difficult task was locating a top turret. One was eventually found through Art and Birdine Lacey, who owned the “Bomber Gas Station” in Milwaukie, Oregon, where a B-17 had been sitting on top of their station for over 37 years. Harsh weather and vandals had done significant damage, but the top turret was still intact. A deal was struck between both parties: the Arizona Wing would provide much needed work for the “The Bomber,” and the Laceys would donate the top turret to Sentimental Journey.

First, the members had to prepare the parts they would need for the Laceys’ plane. A new glass nose and facsimile top turret were fabricated along with a fiberglass tail. In July 1981, a team arrived at Art Lacey’s gas station, and in 48 hours had replaced every piece of glass in the plane and all three missing doors. A dummy fiberglass top and tail turret were installed, topping off the work with a pair of simulated .50 caliber machine guns for the chin and tail turrets. The crew reported that there were no words to describe the Laceys’ hospitality. By August 1982, the top turret, along with the “Cheyenne” tail turret, were installed on Sentimental Journey.

Over the next three years, restoration continued on Sentimental Journey. The work was performed outdoors since the wing still did not have a hangar. In 1985 ground was broken for the wing’s permanent hangar facility. With the new facility, repairs to Sentimental Journey could now be performed inside. As the hangar/museum grew, so did the number of aircraft the wing was restoring.

In the following years, Sentimental Journey has made her appearance at hundreds of airshows and static displays. By 1986, Sentimental Journey was making an average of 60 appearances annually throughout the United States and Canada. Disaster struck in 1988 when brake failure during a landing at the Burbank Airport in California extensively damaged the underside front section of the aircraft and took six months to repair.

With the end of the summer airshow schedule, Sentimental Journey returns to Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona, to undergo general repairs and restoration work. What many people don't realize is that this is an ongoing project. An average of 80,000 people tour through Sentimental Journey during the summer months. The amount of work to be accomplished during the winter months can be staggering. Everything from engine changes to aircraft repainting has to be performed before the next airshow season starts in early May. The Arizona Wing is proud of its work and effort to bring Sentimental Journey to you.
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg DSC_4965a.jpg (756.9 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg DSC_4970a.jpg (511.5 KB, 4 views)
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Last edited by hydrotoys : 12-12-2008 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 12-12-2008, 06:51 PM
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North American Aviation B-25J "Mitchell"

Serial Number: 18

Registration:

Markings: 1944 US

Museum Condition: Restored to flying condition (pending FAA clearance)


"Maid in the Shade" nearing completion of full restoration

Named after Gen. Billy Mitchell, the Army Air Corps' most famous figure of the 1920s and 1930s, the North American B-25J proved to be one of the best American weapons of World War II. The B-25J Mitchell, a twin-engine bomber that became standard equipment for the Allied Air Forces in World War II, was perhaps the most versatile aircraft of the war. It became the most heavily armed airplane in the world, was used for high-and low-level bombing, strafing, photo reconnaissance, submarine patrol and even as a fighter, and was distinguished as the aircraft that completed the historic raid over Tokyo in 1942. Subsequently, it saw duty in every combat area being flown by the Dutch, British, Chinese, Russians and Australians in addition to our own U.S. forces. Although the airplane was originally intended for level bombing from medium altitudes, it was used extensively in the Pacific area for bombing Japanese airfields from treetop level and for strafing and skip bombing enemy shipping.

More than 9,800 B-25Js were built during WW II. Basically, it was a twin-tail, mid-wing land monoplane powered by two 1,700-hp Wright Cyclone engines. Normal bomb capacity was 5,000 pounds. Some versions carried 75 mm cannon, machine guns and added firepower of 13 .50-caliber guns in the conventional bombardier's compartment. One version carried eight .50-caliber guns in the nose in an arrangement that provided 14 forward-firing guns.

The B-25J under restoration at the Arizona Wing museum has quite a history. Flying out of Serraggia in Corsica during 1944-45 with the 319 Bomb Group, this B-25J flew 15 combat missions against the Axis in Italy. Restoration is very extensive due to the condition of the aircraft but when the Arizona Wing finishes this B-25J, it will be restored to its 1944 configuration.
General Characteristics Type Medium Bomber Manufacturer North American Aviation Maiden Flight 19 August 1940 Introduced 1941 Theatre of War World War II Number Produced 9,984 Status Retired 1979 (last country to Operate: Indonesia) Dimensions Crew 6
Pilot
Co-pilot
Navigator/bombardier
Engineer/Turret Gunner
Radio Operator/Waist Gunner
Tail Gunner Wingspan 67 ft 6 in Length 52 ft 11 in Height 17 ft 7 in Empty Weight 21,120 lbs Max Takeoff Weight 41,800 lbs Performance Power Plant (2) Wright R-2600-17 "Cyclone" 14 cylinder radials Horsepower 1,850 hp (each) Maximum Speed 239 knots (275 mph) Service Ceiling 25,000 ft Rate of Climb 790 ft/min Range 1,170 nm (1,350 mi) Armament Guns (1) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine gun in nose
(4) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in "blisters" below cockpit
(2) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in dorsal turret
(2) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in tail turret
(2) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in waist section (one on each side)
Rockets (Optional) ( 5 in (127 mm) unguided rockets under outer wings Payload 3,000 lbs of bombs (internally)





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Old 12-12-2008, 09:14 PM
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Driving around looking at Christmas lights last night and i look to my right and parked in some guys drive way is an 2008 f-150 lifted sporting the spitfire paint job right down to the rivets and shark teeth... Ill get some pics on Saturday.
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Old 12-12-2008, 11:29 PM
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Did you talk to the guy about your jet ski? I am sure that he would be pretty interested in paying for your ride...?
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