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Classic Wings Magazine WWII Naval Aviation Research Pacific Warbird Digest
Final Cut-The Post War B-17 Flying Fortress and Survivors - 5th Edition


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:44 pm 
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I've heard about this possible scenario before, but I'm not finding any concrete proof (yet). I'd find it hard to believe that a pilot or co-pilot would allow a crewman to sit outside while on takeoff. Taxiing for takeoff perhaps.

Despite the risks of the slipstream, a crewman of "Rigor Mortis", a B-17F Flying Fortress (KY-B, serial number 41-24591) serving with the 366th Bomb Squadron, 305th Bomb Group, sits exposed on the edge of the radio room hatch during take off from Chelveston airbase, England. Many Fortress aviators thought the ride exhilarating. "Rigor Mortis" was lost during the disastrous run to the ball bearing plant at Stuttgart, Germany, 06 September 1943. Among the 338 bombers dispatched, she was one of 45 Fortresses failing to return, most having run out of fuel or smothered by enemy fighters when the formations scattered due to bad weather._NARA_[JASpringer]

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:09 pm 
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Is the aircraft moving in this picture? I don't think so.
...Hey, y'all, hold my beer and watch this!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:24 pm 
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Your post made me think about this video I'd seen on Youtube a long time ago. From it I think the key to riding on the outside of the plane is definitely the saddle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4OYlNOXPPk


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:27 pm 
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The prop rotation looks too slow for takeoff RPM and no dust from prop wash. The crewman isn't braced or holding onto anything, no ruffled clothing from a slipstream, and he'd probably loose that skullcap at takeoff speed. Looks like its just a taxi to me.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:41 am 
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Thanks for posting Mark. My view is that the commentary was a reference to the aircraft taxiing for takeoff. You will note that non-aviation types often mistake aviation activities. Bit like people calling an airport terminal "the airport" of the parking and taxyways "the runway"...

By the way it shows the white star toned down too. Anyone have any comments?


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:49 am 
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Seemed to recall a guy in the 60's who used to piggy back on top of a DC-8 at air-shows.

I think he was called the 'Human Fly' or something like that - crazy!

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:32 am 
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You see lots of photos of C-124s in the 50s-60s with a crewman sticking out of the navigator's hatch.
I assume he was up there as a spotter to make sure no one clipped wingtips or ran off the taxiway. Especially at unfamiliar fields.

I'll have to check my dad's "Dash-1" pilots handbook.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:11 am 
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The photo caption is wrong. It happened all the time.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:47 am 
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Yep, you can see the man's gear and clothing. I'd be surprised if the plane was moving forward at all when the photo was taken.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:33 am 
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seagull61785 wrote:
Seemed to recall a guy in the 60's who used to piggy back on top of a DC-8 at air-shows.

I think he was called the 'Human Fly' or something like that - crazy!

Barry



1976. It was Clay Lacy's DC-8.

https://youtu.be/5dejuGeDpEU


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:09 pm 
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A few years ago I flew in Nine-O-Nine....when we were at the cruising speed I tried to stick my head out of that same opening to take some pictures......Well I will tell you that it almost ripped my head off...it was a lesson learned !!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:55 pm 
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I haven't seen the old Memphis Belle documentary in a while but wasn't there some very short video of a crewman doing the same thing as one of the B-17's is taxing by??


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:09 pm 
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In the Memphis Belle documentary outtakes a guy does that for sure. You can see it very clear. I can’t remember if it appears in the main cut of the documentary

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:01 pm 
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If the plane was anywhere close to doing a takeoff run the co pilot wouldn't be looking back at the cameraman.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:14 pm 
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CoastieJohn wrote:
I haven't seen the old Memphis Belle documentary in a while but wasn't there some very short video of a crewman doing the same thing as one of the B-17's is taxing by??
Yeah, it's in the main film, I have no idea when it as filmed, in regard to the events when Wyler was at Bassingborn shooting those scenes, but yeah there's someone up on the outside, just aft of the radio hatch (probably Robert Hanson, the radio operator on that last mission). But you could easily be there while taxiing.
I have couple of DVDs with the movie, I need to go back and watch that again.

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