I burst through the airport doors and demanded of the uniformed police officer there, “Where’s the bomber?”
Okay, it didn’t go down exactly like that. I’d seen a couple short articles the beginning of the week about a B-17 coming to the Springfield airport, so of course I dragged my children to the passenger airport and asked, politely, where the B-17 was. The police officer, clued in perhaps by this article which has more details about the actual location, directed me to the proper place up by the air cargo carriers.
So we donated a couple bucks and got to walk through the plane. Which is to say, crawl through and scrunch through most of it. It’s amazing how basic and rudimentary this beast was. Not a lot of creature comforts in it. You climb up through the belly to get to the cockpit and then walk a catwalk through the bomb bay to the radio room where you have four plain seats and a couple of 50 caliber machine guns. To get to the tail gun, one had to crawl. To fire the belly gun, I guess you had to hang upside down.
The plane offered rides, but the prices were $425 to ride in the radio room or $850 to ride in the navigator’s chair. It would have made for an interesting story, but I don’t have that sort of story money lying around.
The best part was that my boys were interested in it, briefly. Although the oldest is in a “no pictures” phase (remember, he wouldn’t pose with Harley Quinn), so I’ll just have to remember the incident via blog post.