WWII bombers in Knoxville


October 22, 2003, 12:58 PM
There are two WWII era bombers parked at the Knoxville airport today.

A B-17 and a B24J are there all day. Both of the planes have their .50cal guns mounted and are open to walk-throughs for $8.

The B17 is going for a flight at 4:30. You can buy a seat for only $400, but it is tax deductable.

I like the fact that people are taking the time and money to keep these pieces of history flying so I happily gave them eight bucks.

If you're in the neighborhood, they are located at the KnoxAir building right off of Alcoa Hwy (Hwy 129) just east of the airline terminal.

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October 22, 2003, 01:06 PM
Are these Confederate Air Force planes? If so, I saw them in Charlotte abut a dozen years ago....well worth a trip to see them.

Billy Sparks
October 22, 2003, 02:33 PM
The B-17 came to Winston-Salem a few years ago. I had to go to county fire station on business and almost drove through the fence looking at it. My bad timing I didn't have the $400 to spend to fly it...:banghead:

October 22, 2003, 02:50 PM
Spent 350 to fly on the B-17 last Jan. in Florida. It was the ride of a lifetime, well worth the money to me. Now for the B-24.....

October 22, 2003, 03:14 PM
Saw the Confederate Air Force at Dulles airport many years ago. Stood right behind a WWII P38 Lightning twin engine fighter when the pilot fired up the engines prior to take-off. Awesome sound.

I think the Confederate Air Force changed its name because the name was not politically correct. Don't know for sure.

The CFA flies around the courtry from time to time for different events and occasionally they have a crash.

Mike Irwin
October 22, 2003, 03:18 PM
When I was in high school the Confederate Air Force brough FIFI, their B-29, their B-17, and a P-51D Mustang to the Harrisburg Air Show.

Coming in they flew down the valley and over the town where I live.

What an incredible sight to see.

Johnny Guest
October 22, 2003, 03:47 PM
It was long a point of pride that the Confederate Air Force was based in Texas. For many years it was headquartered at Rebel Field at Harlingen, AWAY down souf.

Had a good friend who was a contributor and semi-active participant in their activities. (Not a pilot or aircraft owner.) Held the rank of Colonel, but then, everyone did - - No one outranked anyone else, y'see.

They moved out to the Midland-Odessa Airport several years ago, and had a great display and museum, as well as a nice base of operations. I dunno when the Politically Correct movement got all wrapped around the axle over the "Confederate" part, but they eventually brought enough pressure to bear. CAF now stands for "Commerative Air Force." I thought it was a bad joke for a long time - - A privately funded enterprise being forced to change their name just because of PC. Well, silly me!

All the signs, the announcements, everything - - Now indicate Commerative AF. The whole thing is really dumb. Yeah, I know, some localities threatened to cancel them out of big airshows if they didn't fall into line. They raised a lot of money for the Good Work of preservation and restoration of the fine old aircraft by air show participation, and couldn't risk it. I just wish there had been another way . . . .

And no, I have exactly ZERO sympathy for those who get in your face with the CSA battle flag, or with any racist attitudes. But there IS such a thing as a proud tradition. Quite a few of the old CAF hands either resigned or went inactive over the Commerative thing. I'm sure the loss of their donations and participation doesn't weigh much, compared to PC.

Kinda sad, is all. :(


October 22, 2003, 04:16 PM
I was driving home one day near Perris Callifornia when I spotted a B-17 and another plane (pulling a blank, here!) winging toward me at about 400 feet! Awesome sight! Don't know what they were doing at that altitude, unless they were heading in to the Perris airport. (World famous among parachutists.)

In high school I got to wander around Chino airport and saw quite a few WWII planes, including a few P-51 pylon racers, Cox's Miss America foremost among them. Cool!

October 22, 2003, 04:24 PM
I was a member of the CAF back in the 80's, part of the Arizona Wing based in Mesa, AZ at Falcon Field.
Lots of fun flying around in "Tired Iron" as some called it back then.

If you ever get a chance to take a flight, do it. These old aircraft won't be flying much longer I'm afraid. Per hour flying costs are getting very high. And insurance has always been a struggle.

There was a time when the old B-17G that I worked on, "Sentimental Journey", would go up for a test flight, or any kind of flight.
Any member on the flight line could just pile on, go for a ride.
New insurance requirements did away with that, limiting flights to crew members, including ground crews. It's gotten tighter since then.

Paid, public flights are something else.

October 22, 2003, 05:26 PM
Like those who maintained and flew them in combat...
Those old war weapons are getting to be scarce and high maintenence.

Let us enjoy them, let our grandkids see and hear them, while they are still with us.


October 22, 2003, 05:45 PM
Yep, history,memories, and tradition.
I know a few Col. 's Great bunch, that rukus with the PC was a bad thing all right.
Knew a veteran pilot , got ate up with cancer. He made the choice to skip surgery so at least he could get affairs in order and enjoy his last days not healing up or doped up. not his way.

Arranged for him to take one last flight, the Cols wanted to do it, but we all chippped in for fuel. Little grandkids never seen grandpa with tears before...tears of happiness as he sat them down after the flight and explained how he flew one of these things...

Col said the old boy took controls and flew just like it was yesterday...shared some tips and stories...

October 22, 2003, 05:47 PM
saw a few at the Van Nuys AViation Expo two summers ago, and was surprised at how small they appeared.
I've probably watched 1000s of hours of WWII films & footage, and they always seem so much larger. I was particularly surprised at the smallish appearance of the B-29.

And on the same theme - outside the CA town of Delano (I think it was Delano), alongside highway 99, there is a F-4 Phantom parked alongside a B-17. They look almost the same approximate size.

http://home.earthlink.net/~rayra/mar/VNAE01-b25.jpg http://home.earthlink.net/~rayra/mar/VNAE01-b24.jpg http://home.earthlink.net/~rayra/mar/VNAE01-b24wingspan.jpg http://home.earthlink.net/~rayra/mar/VNAE01-B29-1.jpg http://home.earthlink.net/~rayra/mar/VNAE01-B29-2.jpg

October 22, 2003, 05:50 PM
And there is a touring B-17, "Aluminum Overcast", that sells rides - http://www.b17.org/

October 22, 2003, 05:50 PM
Went to a CAF display at Modesto back in '94 (has it been almost 10 years? :eek: ). They had their Heinkel 111 that had once belonged to Generalisimo Francisco Franco, and they were selling rides in a 2-seat P-51. The runway at Modesto starts way, way down from the hangars, so by the time the P-51 was going by, the pilot had it about 2 wingspans off the ground with the gear up, throttle firewalled. Make you weak in the knees.

They also had a single-seater on static display. No velvet ropes - walk right up and touch it. Amazing how big they really were. The propeller is 11 feet in diameter!

And on the same theme - outside the CA town of Delano (I think it was Delano), alongside highway 99, there is a F-4 Phantom parked alongside a B-17. They look almost the same approximate size.

That's at the Tulare airport, and you're right - the B-17 looks small, but I think if you got close up, you'd see the F4 is actually really big.

Somebody really needs to wash them, too. :(

October 22, 2003, 06:01 PM
I was in Carolina when the 17 and 24 were there in the Piedmont a few years back as Bill Sparks mentioned. They were parked over at GSO and I drove over at lunch for a look see.

About 20 minutes later they flew right over the place I was worked at and they were hauling a--. You coud hear they circling at a considerable distance and the sight and sound as they passed right over head was a moving experience to say the very least. For that moment I felt like I had very great deal in common with the people in England that saw them day in and out during WWII. One of them was my Dad!

What a visual momory that created.

The weather was perfect.


October 22, 2003, 06:48 PM
I always have to work or go to school when they come by. Next time, I will make the time to go.

4v50 Gary
October 22, 2003, 08:02 PM
Gotta love those old birds. When I was in Bowling Green, KY two years ago, a B-17 dropped by for a weekend. You could fly it for 1/2 hour @ $400 a pop. Money was limited and I have to plan for it in advance. Heckuva nice write off to keep an old bird flying. :)

October 22, 2003, 08:12 PM
Somebody really needs to wash them, too.
Noticed that. Drove past them 10days ago on the way to Hayward. Really dirty. Maybe get the local Fire Dept out there. (and 'Tulare', thanks - lost track of the small towns)

October 22, 2003, 08:27 PM
Did the B-24 have the two-gun turret in the nose and red wingtips? That would be the Collings Foundation's B-24J "All American" and their B-17G "Nine - Oh - Nine" They do a countrywide tour avery year. That 'Lib is one sweet resto job!

October 23, 2003, 01:02 AM
just a note, and a sad one at that, this past weekend up in Houston (wings over houston show i think it was) teh CAF lost one of their FM-1(F4F built by i think GM) Wildcats, appearently (i was at the texas renfest with the family or i would have been there) the wildact along witha few other planes was making a set of "photo op" passes, and on the backside of tha pattern, suddenly drop from the sky!!:what: last i heard it was still under investigation, but the desciptions i've seen, seem to indicate a "cessation of pilot function" (pilot dead or passed out at controls).

this as with ALL losses of rare/vintage aircraft saddens me. i am hoping to get to "AirSho" (they still call it that? the CAF anual, reunion/all operative planes fly-in/airshow) over in midland next year. i've been wanting to attend for the past 20 years. my first Airshow was one ,where probably 90% of the planes in display and or flying, were ones owned and or maintained and flown by the CAF. so i have a rather strong connection in my mind between airshows and those old warbirds.

October 23, 2003, 07:40 AM

Keep your fingers crossed that they once again, do not cancel our air-show due to "The War on Terrorism".

October 23, 2003, 07:48 AM
Did the B-24 have the two-gun turret in the nose and red wingtips? That would be the Collings Foundation's B-24J "All American" and their B-17G "Nine - Oh - Nine" They do a countrywide tour avery year. That 'Lib is one sweet resto job!

Yep, that's them. They are in great shape, very well maintained.


Bainx, when's the airshow?

Black Dragon
October 23, 2003, 08:34 AM
I took my father on the EAA B-17 ride around Southeast Michigan. Ride of a
life time. My girlfriend, now wife, was afraid a plane "that old" might have
problems. She was not happy with the pictures I took of me hanging out of the
upper hatch that is at is abover the waist gunners position. EAA has a schedule
of when they are around the country. Their web site is WWW.EAA.org.
The next planes I would love to get a ride in are B-24, B-25 and P-51. My
grandfather was one of the people who ran the Willow Run B-24 Production
Assmebly plant during WWII. The stories he has about those plane and the
people who built them are out of this world.

Lone Star
October 23, 2003, 09:32 AM
For those who don't already know, the CAF did the flying in, "Battle of Britain", the movie made about 1970 with Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer, Susannah York, Sir Laurence Olivier, etc., an all-star cast.

Plenty of good action with Bf-109's (Spanish engines), He-111's, Stukas, Hurricanes, and Spitfires, although most are later than the Mk. I and II Spits available in 1940. I distinctly recall seeing the twin radiators beneath the wings of Mk. IX's.

It's out in both VHS and DVD. Just bought the DVD version this week. You may also be able to rent, but this is one movie that you'll want to own, if you like WWII or vintage aircraft.

Near the opening, watch as the 109's strafe the RAF airfield in France. One guy flies over a fence that must have him about ten feet, if that, off the ground! Much lower, and his prop would have hit the fence...

Lone Star

October 23, 2003, 11:28 AM
I used to go to the CAF back when it was in Harlingen Texas. This is back in the mid 80s. They had ALL the CAF planes in one location at this time. They even had a boneyard out back with a bunch of old cargo planes from the 1950s. It was fun crawling up into those huge old cargo planes.

The WW2 planes impress me big time. I currently work in the F/A-22 program, and I can honestly tell you that the WW2 planes impress me the most. They flew back in a time when Aerial Combat was a test between two pilots, not between two flying computers.

P.S. The Battle of Britian DVD is a must have if you like WW2 aircraft. Long movie with ALOT of dog fights.

October 23, 2003, 11:57 AM
A lot of my close friends fly for the CAF.

While it's true that PC is the basis for the change in name, the motivation is pure money.

Simply put, it cost a HUGE amount of money to fy and maintain the planes. My buddies routinely will fly to Midland every weekend for months, working on a plane to get it ready for the airshow season.

A number of corporations said they would like to donate to the CAF, but couldn't as long as it was called the Confederate Air Force. Hence the name to Commemerative Air Force. The nasty twist to the story is that now, after changing the name, the donations still have not come in.

One of my best friends flies the DC-3 (C-47) and the C-46 Commando. At one air show, a bunch of the "Band of Brothers" veterans got a ride in the C-47. He described how these old gentlemen jockied around to find the seats they used when they jumped into Europe.

They had a great ride, but when he touched down, there was a huge cheer from the back of the plane where the veterans were. When he left the cockpit, he asked what that was about.

They told him it was their first LANDING in a C-47!

Great experience. For fun, go to an airshow where one of these old planes is on static display, and spend some time there. They need volunteers. Sure enough, an old man will show up and quietly walk around, looking up. You'll know that he's reliving distant memories. Walk up and start a conversation. It will be worthwhile, I guarantee.

(Airplanes are my other love, in addition to guns. Currently flying a Beech B55 Baron.)

October 23, 2003, 03:15 PM
On the local Washington DC news program the other day they had preview of the new Smithsonian aircraft history annex at Dulles airport in Virginia. Opens around mid-December and looks like a fabulous exhibit. I think the Smithsonian has about 200 historical aircraft, with about 20 on display in downtown Washington. Display includes what appears to be a number of WWII aircraft along with planes like the SR71, Concorde and the space shuttle.

For aircraft lovers this display is a must see.

Another interesting air museum is the one at Wright Patterson Air Force base in Ohio not far from Dayton, I believe. When I was there, the had a Folke Wolf 190. Beautiful fighter.

Also, in the Washington area at the Marine Base at Quantico Virginia there is a small but interesting museum. They had a restored WWII Corsair fighter.

And, if you get to England, a must see is the Imperial War Museum displays outside of Cambridge. Many historical military and non-military aircraft. Also lots of other displays including armor and artillery.

The movie Battle Of Britain was filmed there and was portrayed as Biggin Hill air field.

October 23, 2003, 05:13 PM
There is a small museum in South Texas (Rio Hondo to be exact) that has 2 or 3 FW-190s. I believe one of them is flyable and the other two are near flyable.

This museum is not well known, and is fairly small. I believe it is more of a group of WW2 aircraft restorers than a museum, but it is called a museum. Texas Air Museum. If you like FW-190s go there.

Their website is currently down. www.fw190.net

Also, check a unrelated link.

October 24, 2003, 02:34 PM
to a picture of the 190s Lighsped mentioned in TX...I think.


October 24, 2003, 03:05 PM
Love them old warbirds.

Ten or twelve years back, I was working graveyard shift on the flightline of the "major commercial aircraft company" which employs me, walking along minding my own business, and a tow tractor rolls out of the paint hangar pulling a B-29! Needless to say, I thought my wife had maybe slipped something into my coffee thermos! Turned out to be FIFI, in getting a bit of a facelift. They towed her into a stall next to a 767...looked awfully small in comparison, until you remember the huge contribution those things made.

Then there was the day recently when walking to the parking lot, I was amazed to see an ME-262 coming in for a landing on Paine Field. Turns out there's a company there making repros from the original plans, and hanging modern engines on 'em. If I ever win the Lottery...

I've done the walk throughs on the B-17 & B-24. They're beautiful aircraft and I hope there's room among the guns in the budget for a ride next time...if there is a next time.

October 24, 2003, 05:15 PM
....the town I live in.

Yea, it's been years since anyone bothered to wash those old Warbirds, hell, the F-4 hasn't even been there nearly as long as that old B-17.

October 24, 2003, 05:43 PM
The museum at Wright-Patterson is very impressive. There are also smaller, yet interesting museums in both Sevierville, TN and Rantoul, IL.

I'd love to get a ride in that B-17. My grandfather piloted them over Germany during WW2. What a way to finally connect with the man, as he passed several years before I was born.

October 24, 2003, 11:43 PM
I had the pleasure to do a walk through on the Nine O' Nine and the Aluminum Overcast several years ago. I was shocked at how small and cramped the planes were inside, especially the B 24. Flying at eight miles up in aircraft whose skins aren't much thicker than a coke can with folks throwing explosive metal at you took a special kind of man. It makes you appreciate what kind of men our fathers and grandfathers really were.

As far as the CAF PC crap goes I know it's all about the money but I don't think they have a P 51 Mustang sponsored by Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton in Tuskegee Airmen colors yet do they?

October 25, 2003, 04:19 AM
I don't think they have a P 51 Mustang sponsored by Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton in Tuskegee Airmen colors yet do they?

what? those two actually giving money to something that does NOT promote THEM directly??

No AFAIK, jackson and sharpton are not in ANY way involved in the restoration, or operation of the CAF's "Tuskegee Airmen" aka "Redtail" Mustang nor any of the other Warbirds that have been restored in Honor of African-american pilots (i've heard rumors someone is going to re-do a P-40 to represent the early pre-mustang era of the group).

in fact the CAF had that plane/paint scheme "in the stable" back before the PC name change, well before unless i'm gravely mistaken.

i personally think that it is rather sad that it took so long for the direct military acheviments of the 332nd FG to come to light for the "general public". I'm a huge fan of military history esp military aviation, and i was out fo High School before i ever found reference to such facts as the group having never lost a single bomber under their escort to german fighter cover!!:what: and no less amazing (though granted luck and fate played a hand in this second fact) the sinking of a german Destroyer by a single plane using ONLY the onboard .50cal MGs

October 25, 2003, 06:09 PM
We do an air show every two years except this year....they crapped out on us due to "the war on terrorism".

Fear not, we have an exceptional congess critter, John Duncan Jr, a truly conservative man, he will get the air show going again.

Don't miss the next one;)

October 25, 2003, 07:27 PM
B17G was flying out of our local general avation airport today! by the tail it was either aluminum overcast or miss angela!

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