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Photos by Fritz Rethage · © 2004
All Rights Reserved
& Wheels Expo 2004
Teterboro Airport, September 25 & 26, 2004
Sponsored by The Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of New Jersey
B-17 Yankee Lady Press Flight
For the first time since 9-11, special
permission was given to The Yankee Lady to provide flights during the Wings and Wheels
Expo. The first flight was for the press just after arrival early afternoon on Friday,
September 24, 2004. Of the more than 12,000 built before the end of WWII, less than a
dozen of America's first heavy bombers are still flying today.
Boarding through a small portal, I worked my way through a cramped tunneled fuselage past
jump seats and .50 caliber machine guns, over the ball turret and into the radio room.
We squeezed into very small seating spaces, on very thin pads and one of the crew
fastened our seat belts.
As we settled in, Albert J. Parisi from the Herald News, an aviation buff and dressed in
period attire, provided lots of interesting information about crew life on the B-17 Flying
Fortress. Although there was seating in the radio room for three -- originally
there was one radioman and 1,000 pounds of radio equipment where two of us sat. In a slot
above the door to the bomb bay was a .50 caliber machine gun on the ready. He told
us about the crews functions, rubberized oxygen masks freezing, three bells meant to bail
out, bombing accuracy, communication to the cockpit was by telegraph, etc.
The Wright Cyclone piston engines fired up one at a time with rich resonate thunder. It
was very loud and communication was with hand signals and shouting. After warming up
the engines, we taxied to the runway for a very smooth take off. Once airborne, the
press was allowed to move around the aircraft.
This short flight took off, crossed the Meadowlands, traveled down the Hudson River,
turned past the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor, went up the Hudson past the George
Washington Bridge, turned at the Palisades and returned to Teterboro.
Most of these photos were taken from an open portal above the radio room, but after
turning at the Statue of Liberty I went to the rear for a gunners' viewpoint, then went
forward past the radio room -- along a very thin walkway through the bomb bay to the
cockpit. I was allowed to go into the nose section used by the bombardier.
When we were above the Palisades we were told that we would be landing in three minutes
and signaled to return to our seats. Moments later we enjoyed a very smooth landing. Upon
landing and on the taxi way between runways, we watched the Spirit of Freedom touch down.
Fasten your seat belts.
Taxiing to the runway before take off
Views are from the opening above the radio room
George Washington Bridge spanning the Hudson River
Intrepid Museum in lower left corner and the Empire State Building to the right.
Flying over Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
New York harbor at the turn
Statue of Liberty starting the return of the trip
Verrazano Narrows Bridge in lower New York harbor
View from the cockpit
Cockpit controls during flight
View of Hudson River from nose at the turn -- note George Washington Bridge in the
View of the Palisades from the Bombardier's seat
Heading back to Teterboro. Note George Washington Bridge view from the Bombardier's
Fasten seat belts -- we will be landing in three minutes. Pass the word.
On the taxi way between runways, we watched the Spirit of Freedom touch down.
Taxiing back to the ramp after landing. The C-54 Spirit of Freedom is behind us and
will park first.
Taxiing onto the ramp. The Spirit of Freedom has parked along the F-14's and F-18's.
Note the old Teterboro tower to the left.
Wings & Wheels Expo 2001 @ Teterboro Airport, June 2d & 3rd, 2001
[B-17 Yankee Lady][DC-4 Spirit of Freedom][Various aircraft] [Antique Cars][General & Military]
Photos by Fritz Rethage · © 2004 All