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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:17 pm 
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As promised, here's the photo my Aunt Doris found of the B-17G that was donated to the Air Scouts in Paducah, KY in 1946:

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My dad said that two local pilots picked it up at a depot in Memphis, Tennessee and flew it back to the Paducah airport, took out the batteries and left it for the Air Scouts to use as a teaching tool/clubhouse. He "flew" his share of missions in it before he joined the Air Force in 1947. By around 1949 or 1950 it was gone.

Looking closely at the photo, it looks like the cheek gun position is missing on the starboard side, but the chin and top turrets are intact.

I hope someone can add details to this (like the serial, of course!). Maybe someone knows something more about the depot in Memphis? Over to you...

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Last edited by Chris Brame on Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:14 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:18 pm 
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And? What happened to this bird? Still in use with the air scouts or scrapped? Any recent pics or stories?

Johan


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:57 pm 
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What a superb story! I'm wondering if author and B-17 historian Scott Thompson might have details or leads regarding its disposition. He's spent so many hours tracking down serial numbers and pouring through records he may indeed have a clue or two.

That period of time following VJ Day through 1948 or so must've been a magical time for those interested in saving warbirds. I understand from first hand experience that the larger they are the more of a challenge they are to move, and it was so difficult for an individual to acquire and move an airplane as large as a B-17 or B-24. But it appears that the War Assets Administration - the federal agency formed specifically to properly dispose of war material - was pretty liberal in offering airplanes to municipalities, townships and civic groups for display. In most cases, all one had to do was request one and then move it.

Hate to say it, but I suspect she was scrapped less than 5 years or so after she made her final flight. So often it seems the airplanes went off to cities or civic groups with the best of intentions to preserve them as war memorials, but after a few years of neglect, exposure to weather and vandalism they became eyesores to the local officials and they were scrapped.

This kind of thing happened at least a few decades after WWII. In Mesa, Arizona where I reside, there was once a F9F Panther sitting in a municipal park less than a mile from my home. In the early 1990s, the City officials decided it was something of a liability and gave it away to a museum. Thousands of kids had played on it over the years, and the City's risk prevention office probably convinced the council that it was a horrendous liability if another child got injured playing on or in it, and away it went. Almost overnight.

Upon researching the history of the aircraft, I discovered this was at least the second (and possibly a third) military aircraft given to City of Mesa from US Navy stores from Litchfield NAF, about 35 miles or so up the road. This was done in the 1960s, and when the neighboring cities wanted a war memorial for a local park, school or VFW hall, all they did was submit a written petition for one, and then they got one from storage and hauled it down the road.

And article in the local newspaper printed in the early 1960s indicated that the former Navy aircraft in this old park had "the wings worn through in spots from the traffic of countless chiildren's shoes that it was no longer safe, and hauled away to the local scrapyard when a replacement appeared."

I've often speculated to no one in particular that in the late '50s our civic officials could have had F4U-4 Corsairs to choose from instead of Panthers and Cougars at Litchfield NAF, but alas, this was the jet age, and prop fighters were no longer the "in thing."

Thanks for sharing such a neat picture and story....


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 10:14 pm 
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I think the castaways will continue to show up as "found in a barn" stories for years to come.

We can hope, anyway.

B

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 10:27 pm 
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Likewise, in suburban Maryland, there were two Navy fighters, an F7U Cutlass and an FJ Fury (IIRC) located at Wheaton and Cabin John Regional parks, respectively. Both were removed for liability reasons. They were hulks and could never be flyers, but they could have made a decent static display.

I was hopeful that they were still sitting in a storage lot somewhere, but after talking with individuals with the regional park service (The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission...I now volunteer with their police department in the Montgomery County division), it turned out they were sold for scrap metal sometime in the late 70s, early 1980s. However, they are quite amazed at how many people remembered these airplanes and had fond memories of them.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 10:51 pm 
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I was checking through my copy of "The Final Cut" and nothing seems to match up. It is quite possible that the plane was sold and made airworthy again. The B-17s that were in the surplus yards had all been cut up by 1950 and the ones that were retained (PB-1Ws, B-17Hs, DB-17s, etc.,) had not yet been released for surplus, so it is possible a private owner sought to get this plane airworthy again.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:30 am 
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I'll throw this in for what it is worth and say that this B-17G is not in Final Cut. It would appear to be one of the dozens of B-17s that went from the RFC to communities in 1945 and 1946 as war memorials, a few of which were saved, some of which were scrapped, but most of whose fate is undetermined.

These war memorials, peculiarly, were almost always B-17s. Few fighters and no other bomber types from what I have been able to determine.

I think I will add a page under the B-17 info at http://www.aervintage.com on these birds. Try and get a comprehensive listing going.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 5:27 pm 
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Just got back from the last few days in Paducah with my folks, and while there, I spent several hours at the library trying to find more info on this elusive B-17.
Well, I got more info - but it's one step forward and one step back.

Image

Image
You can imagine my chagrin as I zoomed in on the microfilm image and looked at the tail number - "Two-One-Zero... aargh!" :evil:

As the article mentions, the plane came from Walnut Ridge, not Memphis as my dad thought. That and the date mean it's NOT 42-102834 as I'd thought (although it's at least in the 42-10xxxx range). Note also there are definitely no cheek guns, so this one would have spent its life stateside - the "flak holes" in the wings notwithstanding. Another clue is the "H" on the tail - Hobbs, New Mexico used that as a fuselage code, but was it a Hobbs tail code as well?

I also had a reunion with a friend of my late uncle; he told me the remains went to Tick Brothers, a metal salvage firm, which I just found out may be still in business - another avenue to check. He also said he might have a few photo leads. (He also showed me his airplanes - including four BT-13/15 basket cases... that will be another thread! 8) )

Over to the experts again!

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 7:46 pm 
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...And now we've narrowed it down to nine possibles (I hope). From Scott Thompson (aerovin) on the Aero Vintage forum:
aerovin wrote:
A quick search of David Osborne's listing shows the following B-17s in the 42-10XXXX range that went to Walnut Ridge and its last assigned duty station was Hobbs Field:

42-102866
42-102874
42-102875
42-102882
42-102886
42-102890
42-102893
42-102894
42-102898

Now I need to verify that H was used by Hobbs as a tail code as well as a fuselage code. Anyone have a photo of a late-war NMF Hobbs B-17? I found that 42-102894 had three accidents while there; hopefully at least one of the accident reports would have a photo showing the tail... for over eight years I've been trying to nail this one down, but I'm gonna do it someday.

Then I'm going to track down Earl Reinert's Buffalo. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 4:38 pm 
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Another piece of the puzzle drops into place. Looks like the Air Scouts' plane definitely came from Hobbs, NM:
Image
From HobbsHistory.com, check out the B-17 in this photo circa 1945 - can't be the Paducah one since it has cheek guns and auxiliary windows in the windscreen, but note that letter H on the tail in the same spot. Looks like Hobbs changed the position of its field code from the fuselage to the tail later in the war. Now to verify those last two digits...
One of the candidates, 42-102894, had an in-flight incident when its top turret dome flew off and dinged the horizontal (thanks to Craig Fuller at AAIR for the Hobbs link and the images):
Image
Image

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 5:01 pm 
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What were the "Air Scouts" anyway? I've never heard of them before just now...

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 7:23 pm 
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They were an aviation-oriented troop within the local Boy Scouts of America chapter; a couple other troops got airplanes the same way (one troop got a Kingfisher and another got a combat-veteran B-24J; both long gone of course...).

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:32 pm 
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Ten-year search has ended. Just got off the phone with Air Scout troop leader Stanley Pirtle's son-in-law who found the plane's paperwork, including flight reports.

42-102875 tail code #H 87! :D :D :D

He's mailing me some papers. More to come.
HOORAY AT LAST!!! Now to build the model...

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:46 pm 
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The job ain't done 'til the paperwork's completed:
Image
Flight report dated August 7, 1945 for 42-102875 at Hobbs AAF.

On the notation "Pilot's & Co-Pilot's W.M.B. Inop. - No Freq. Motor", what's a "W.M.B."?

And you gotta love this exchange between the pilot and the maintenance crew:
Quote:
Pilot: "Flap switch works hard in down position."
Maintenance: "Flap switch checked OK. Pilot needs more P.T."
:lol:


Newspaper column by Bill Powell of the Paducah Sun-Democrat:
Image
I think there's a little embellishment here; reading between the lines, maybe the first plane they picked was a Pacific veteran and they wrecked it, then left with '875 instead.

So there you have it. Huge thanks to Mr. Jim England who provided the critical piece of the puzzle!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:35 pm 
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Here lies a similar story:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5457


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