B-17G "Yankee Lady" Flight

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B-17G "Yankee Lady" Flight

Post by DennisH » Thu Aug 13, 2009 5:30 pm

On July 15 I took my 91 year old friend, former Luftwaffe Hauptmann, Hans, on a one-hour B-17G flight courtesy of the Yankee Air Force in nearby Ypsilanti, MI. Hans was a flak battery commander in the vicinity of Schweinfurt during the first and second 8th Air Force raids against the ball bearing plants there in 1943. I asked Hans one day, over some wonderful Asbach Uralt 21 year old brandy, if he'd like to make a B-17 flight while he was still physically able to do so. I said he spent so much of his younger life on the cannon end of the air war that he ought to see what it was like to fly in one of the machines his men were shooting at. I don't know who had more fun, he or I. The flight crew and other passengers treated him marvelously, and I ultimately put a video together for him of the flight. Hans and I enjoy many hours of conversation about anything and everything, in German of course, and he's the only one with whom I'll share my expensive German brandy! :D
Hans and I after B-17G "Yankee Lady" flight - 15 July 2009.
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John W. Howard
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Re: B-17G "Yankee Lady" Flight

Post by John W. Howard » Sat Aug 15, 2009 12:27 pm

Hi Dennis:
Great story and a wonderful thing to do!! A friend of mine took a flight on a B-17 not long ago and said he felt a distinct "stirring" beneath his belt 8) Just hearing those old engines fire up is a religious experience. I am very lucky to live close to a aircraft museum and they have B-17's and B-24's here every once in awhile. A good friend of mine's father was an excellent aircraft mechanic and vintage planes often flew into my local airport just to have him service them. When I was just young he built the fuselage of a bi-plane in his garage!! He had it towed to the airport, put the wings on, had it inspected, and flew it to Osh-Kosh. He built a bigger one later on as well. Unfortunately he passed away all too soon. Best wishes to you and Hans!!
John W. Howard

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Re: B-17G "Yankee Lady" Flight

Post by trapperP » Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:34 am

Read your story with relish and I wish we could all interact as in this account. And it brings to mind a story of my own. I went to a little birthday bash Sunday afternoon for a gentleman in our little town who was turning 90. He had a career serving in the British Consulte corps, not really sure what his job entailed.
He is a most lucky individual to be alive as he flew Beaufighters during the Battle of Britain and after. I heard him tell someone that he was the only one of his six pilot chums to survive WWII. This man's father was a WWI ace with 14 kills and I thought that an interesting bit of info.
Now for the interesting part: he had pictures and news clippings of entertaining Adolf Galland, Bob Stanford Tuck and others in his home over the years. Wonder if he ever thought in say 1940 that he would have a German ace as a house guest!
And I pray that these former foes, all gallant men , may find their own peace and rest therein.
Best regards,

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Re: B-17G "Yankee Lady" Flight

Post by mightythor99 » Sun Nov 22, 2009 8:51 pm

one of the photo albums in my archive, is from the RAD and luftwaffe flak defense around schweinfurt, and includes shots of the big raids, etc. the owner of the album had an eye put out during the bombings. might be interesting, to scan them and have your friend make comments where he can to go along with them. you are in michigan? i am in indiana, southern though.
would it be possible to do something like that?
I am interested in buying / trading for photo albums, photo groupings, diaries, feldpost groupings,etc, from any country in the world, any army/navy, etc, mostly 20th century!!

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