Lightning Strikes: F-5’s & P-38’s

Webp.net-resizeimage (8)F-5 42-13095 of the 12th Photo Recon Squadron zooms in for landing at its base in Italy. This aircraft carried three names: “Shark” on the nose. “Louise” on the left engine nacelle, “Vera” on the right.Webp.net-resizeimage (6)Webp.net-resizeimage (7)Two shots of “Anna” landing in Italy. Note the local civilian onlookers. Webp.net-resizeimage (9)F-5 “Hoppy” flares for landing.Webp.net-resizeimage (1)Webp.net-resizeimage (4)F-5F 44-26045 was transferred to the Chinese Air Force. The same thing happened to the B-24 in the background, 44-42270. Perhaps all of the aircraft pictured were similarly transferred (?)Webp.net-resizeimageP-38J 44-25605 was modified to a personal transport for General George Stratemeyer. Perched in the Plexiglas nose, he had the best seat in the house.Webp.net-resizeimage (5)Webp.net-resizeimage (2)Webp.net-resizeimage (3)Early P-38’s. Marvelous aircraft.

B-26 Marauder, “Hell Cat”

41-17903.jpgJuly, 1943. Fresh from the sands of North Africa where it served with the 17th Bomb Group, “Hell Cat”, a B-26B (41-17903), had just completed 50 missions and was on a War Bond tour when she was captured for posterity. Of course, a very pretty young lady “happened” to stop for a look. The navigator of this bird was Hank Potter, one of the Doolittle Raiders.

 

Civilian B-17’s

webp.net-resizeimage (2)The Bomber Gas Station (1947-91) of Milwaukie Oregon was world famous.  The aircraft was removed for restoration in 2014. I can proudly say that I did make a point of stopping there for gas on several occasions. I recall that the wings didn’t offer much protection on a windy and rainy day, but who cared.webp.net-resizeimage (1)Starting life as 42-102715 (a B-17G), N66573 did a number of odd jobs before crashing as a fire bomber in 1979.webp.net-resizeimageimg221webp.net-resizeimage (5)Typifying the life of a surplus B-17, N117W started life as a B-17G (44-85806), went to the Coast Guard as a PB-1G, passed through several civilian owners and was destroyed in 1964. These 3 photos show it in when it was flown by the Biegert Bros. of Nebraska as an aerial sprayer.webp.net-resizeimage (4)Unlike most civilian B-17’s, those operated by Sweden were combat veterans. SE-BAN (formerly USAAF 42-3490) of Swedish Air Lines came to that country courtesy of the 385th Bomb Group (and German flak) when damaged on a mission to Berlin. Opting for neutral Sweden, the crew was interned and the aircraft put into service at war’s end. Unfortunately it was scrapped in 1950.webp.net-resizeimage (3)Another weary B-17G (42-3470) ended its days in 1962 while flying for the Colombian government. 

img2201959 ad from Flying Magazine. I did the math: $15,000 in today’s money is about $130,000.

B-17’s of France

webp.net-resizeimagewebp.net-resizeimage (3)42-30177 started life with the USAAF but was donated to the Free French Air Force. Christened “Bir Hakeim” to honor the heroic Libyan battle where Free French forces held off the Germans for weeks in 1942, it was used as a transport by the commander at Bir Hakeim, General Marie-Pierre Kœnig.webp.net-resizeimage (1)webp.net-resizeimage (2)After the war, the French Institut Géographique National (IGN) acquired B-17’s and began what was a decades long affiliation with the aircraft. Used for research and mapping, several of these planes soldiered on until the 1980’s. “BEEB” was not so fortunate; she crashed in 1949. “BEEC” was luckier. She continued to fly with the IGN until 1987 and then was sold to the Lone Star Flight Museum to be restored to a WWII configuration and renamed “Thunderbird.”