Go Flying in a World War II Bomber

Say hello to our latest guest blogger, Todd Lappin of Telstar Logistics, who is going to let you know how to go flying on an real World War II Bomber. – Scott

B-17G Flying Fortress over Silicon Valley

With Engines Running

Cheek gun

If you live in Silicon Valley, you may have noticed an unusual sound echoing though the skies for the last few days. It’s a deep, throaty rumble that sounds like the aeronautical equivalent of a Harley Davidson at idle. (In contrast to the high-pitched buzz that we’ve come to associate with propeller-driven aircraft.) If you happened to look up, you may have caught sight of something rare and remarkable: A World War II bomber, making the rounds in the skies over the Bay Area.

Inflight, looking back to the tail.

Yes, it’s that magical time of year again… when the Collings Foundation sends their fleet of World War II aircraft on a cross-country tour. The folks at Collings have restored a B-17 Flying Fortress, a B-24 Liberator, and a B-25 Mitchell to flying condition, and to pay for all the repairs and upkeep, they sell flights in the vintage planes to members of the general public. It’s not exactly cheap — the experience costs $425 for a 30 minute flight. But I went for a ride in the B-17 back in 2002, however, and I’m here to tell you: It was worth every penny.

Inflight, view from navigator's seat

As I wrote last year:

If you’ve got a few extra shekels to spend, reserve a space on a flight this spring when the Collings Foundation visits an airport near you. The flights last 30 minutes, and they cost about as much as a roundtrip airline ticket from New York to LA. But as time-travel experiences go, it’s a fantastic bargain.

Indeed! This year, the tour will swing through several Bay Area Airports. The visit to Moffett Field just ended, but in the days ahead, the Collings warbirds will visit Livermore (May 25-27), Stockton (May 28-30), Sacramento (May 31-June 2), Davis (June 2-4), Santa Rosa (June 4-6), and Concord (June 6-9).

Need more inspiration and/or detail? Here’s a Flickr set of photos I took during my B-17 flight in 2002, here’s the link to the Collings Foundation schedule, and here’s where you can reserve a flight.

Todd Lappin
Todd Lappin