Bob Edwards was over in the valley today as these flying museums touched down at Corvallis and taxied around to the oooh’s and aaaah’s of many an old fly boy and fans of fly boys. And there’s still a lot of them around. Some of them even still know how to operate the radios in those old gals and if push came to shove, know how to soak a noodle and transform it into a temporary antenna using a homebrew matching system.
The P-51 Mustangs, especially the ‘D’ model, was a very fast, high powered fighter bomber that gave the World War II German air force headaches because many of the German Luftwaffe aircraft would lose their performance edge at the higher altitudes the Mustang’s could fly. The P-51 pilots would just climb “upstairs” and, for the most part, pick ’em off. The P-51’s sported six 50 caliber machine guns that, in a squadron formation, could fill the sky with a curtain of lead that was hard to escape.
The B-17 Flying Fortress
This relic of the 1930s is a four-engine heavy bomber with very high altitude capabilities that kept it out of range a lot of enemy fire. It was credited with dropping more bombs than any other kind of war bird during the second world war. It was also renown for its enhanced accuracy when it came to putting bombs right at or at least close to where they would produce the desired effect – factories, suspected strategic military facilities and the like.
The B-24 Liberator
This intended successor to the B-17 Flying Fortress did an admirable job of actually carrying greater bomb payloads, higher speeds and greater range. But it paled in comparison to the B-17’s rugged construction. B-24 flight crews also didn’t like the fact that if they had to ditch, the lighter built, overhead wing B-24, all but ensured that the crew took most of the beating during land or water contact. Still the B-24 proved valuable in being able to haul more bombs over greater distances than the B-17. And with higher technology than the 17’s, it was the single warbird that ushered in the era of precision-guided munitions with its 1,000 pound Azon guided bomb.
These three remarkable aircraft are parked at the Corvallis Airport through Friday noon. If you can, head over and let yourself drift back in time when innovation and smart strategies guided our American military to achieve world-saving victories that made democracy even possible in many parts of the world today.
And our thanks to Bob Edwards who tipped us off to this grand opportunity!!