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


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:09 am 
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Should be loaned to a smaller local level museum (like a Valiant Air Command of Titusville FL type) that would gladly put it on display and take care of it. It would help attract more visitors to these small museums


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:17 am 
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Boeing666 wrote:
Should be loaned to a smaller local level museum (like a Valiant Air Command of Titusville FL type) that would gladly put it on display and take care of it. It would help attract more visitors to these small museums

Yes, I agree!

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:48 pm 
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Everyone has opinions, so here is mine....

First, the "Shoo Shoo Baby" should only be disassembled once for a trip to new location. There's just too much risk to disassemble and transport a rare combat vet twice. So, the only trip I think she should (eventually) take is to the NASM.

That being said, she SHOULD remain on display for all of us to enjoy til she gets transferred. Both the "Memphis Belle" and the "Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby" are 91st BG combat veteran aircraft. How great would it be to have both on display together for a while? Well, let me tell you, in case you're still thinking about it......IT WOULD BE AWESOME!

But, the obvious issue is floor space in the WWII Gallery. So, here is my proposed solution:

All who have been there know there is a 10 or so foot wall that runs down the center of the hangar that separates displays. The "Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby" currently sits on west side, at the end of the wall, perpendicular to the length of the hangar. (the mosquito sits at the end of the wall, right in line with the wall)

So, replace the "Baby" with the "Belle." Then, design/build special stansions (similar to the ones that elevate the Pima Air Museum B-18 Bolo) that would cradle the main gear wheels in the retracted position, along with a special stansion that would hold the tail wheel inside it's well (retracted). The stansions would be tall enough to elevate the "Baby" to a height to clear the tail of the "Belle." Orientate her 90 degrees to the "Belle," and slightly behind her, right over that wall. The "Baby" would be parallel to length of the hangar, or pointed towards the north doors.

That way, you could stand on the ground, look at the front of the "Belle" and see the "Baby" in a flight configuration above and behind the "Belle," as if to appear to be making a low approach over the top of the Belle's tail. (it would also appear, when standing in front of the Mosquito, that the "Baby" is getting ready to buzz the Mosquito!)

Now, if the NMUSAF has huge plans to re-due the entire WWII gallery, my idea might need tweaking, but you get the general idea!

Keep them together and displayed for the public til such time as the NASM decides to take the "Baby" to DC.

:drink3:


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:07 pm 
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TheBigBadGman wrote:
k5083 wrote:
I would like to see the Baby stripped to natural metal and refinished. I consider the decision to change her to OD a mistake. The excuse at the time was that the skin was no longer presentable, but restoration techniques have advanced, if that was even true to begin with. She doesn't have to have a mirror finish although that probably is what NMUSAF prefers.

The ranting about what the NASM does or doesn't care about, its political views etc is both uninformed and tiresome.

August


As nice as it would be to have Shoo Shoo Baby restored to her proper color, I don't see it happening. She's completely covered inside and out - stripping all that paint would require a LOT of work. I doubt any museum would go through all that effort just to get the colors right, especially considering that, in terms of parts, she is more complete that most restorations. I seem to recall that a great deal of metal work was done on the wings, and that that was where her appearance was most ragged. Somebody else might know more as to the details there.

As for the ranting you described - I would argue that it has a valid place here. This is the community most responsible for the preservation of antique aircraft, and as such, we should feel free to openly state our opinions on such matters. JohnB is quite spot-on when he notes the shameful way the Enola Gay's display was handled by the NASM. Likewise, the fact that priceless aircraft like Swoose sat in storage for as long as they did sets a disturbing precedent. We may not agree on the NASM's policies, and that is fine, but I think we can agree that the record shows that they have no problem placing Shoo Shoo Baby into indefinite storage in favor of the strange and obscure.


To be fair, the 42-32076 restoration team at Dover AFB fully intended to restore Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby as she looked when she landed in Sweden in May 1944. Then along came her original pilot, Paul McDuffee, armed with a faulty memory and a lot of bullying, blustering and outright lying, insisting that when he flew the plane it was camouflaged and named "Shoo Shoo Baby", before being stripped and re-named. McDuffee made so much noise that the decision was made to give in and paint the plane.

That decision may have made life easier for the restoration team in the long run, but I am sure it was definitely not their intention and definitely not their decision.

The stuff about painting the plane because of the condition of the skin was always a cover story - it was a concern, but as I recall the team just wondered how patchy and odd it would look when they removed and replaced the "marginal" pieces of fuselage skin.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:54 am 
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I've seen that sort of thing before. When I was advising on the Lake Greenwood B-25, I had to fight to convince the board that the airplane originally had a natural metal finish - never mind the fact that photos from its raising clearly showed an anti-glare panel and black stencil markings. The original pilot couldn't remember and suggested desert pink (for a training aircraft in South Carolina), so, in response to the evidence, the board argued that the paint washed off from having sat beneath the water. Likewise, the original pilot denied the bomber having been named Skunky, so partially to honor his wishes and partially because some found it "demeaning," we were told to not call her that. The problem was that "Skunky" was clearly painted on its nose in black when they raised her from the lake. This sort of idiocy is why I left.

I digress.

Steve, since you were involved with her discovery and restoration, I wonder if you could clarify this for me. I can't remember where I read it, but I recall seeing that the outboard wing required extensive and unsightly repair. Do I have her confused with another? Likewise, the story about McDuffee is not surprising, but there is one thing here that bothers me: When they painted her, they painted here completely inside and out. Of every picture taken of Shoo Shoo Baby, I don't think I have ever seen a portion of her unpainted. If they were going solely on McDuffee's arguments, shouldn't they, for example, have left the waist unpainted inside? Or might this just be a case of the restoration team not knowing any better at that time?

I don't want to sound critical. Despite the inaccuracy of the markings, the team at Dover did a great job. It's like the Coronado down in Pensacola - the markings might not be right, but the finished result is immaculate.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:03 am 
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First off, what an honor to post along with Steve Birdsall.

Regarding the B-17's, here are my assumptions:

1. While I'd like to see SSSB remain in Dayton, I suspect that decision will not be reversed.

2. The NASM only wants to disassemble and reassemble SSSB one time.

2. Whether you or I agree with them or not, the NASM is likely not satisfied with the current restoration on SSSB. I can imagine a decision being made where the airplane "must be moved" and, in NASM's opinion, the only place for it is the restoration queue. As a result, the airplane will sit however long it takes until its turn is called. Their official position is that their work is supposed to last hundreds of years ... so a few decades, to them, are not significant.

3. Despite wishing that NMUSAF & NASM had unlimited budgets, manpower, and the will to pull off multiple Enola Gay-type restorations, they don't. We could argue the nuance of these all day, but I believe this is the case.

4. Barring some divine intervention, see #1 above.

Ken

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:57 pm 
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Thanks Ken, you're too kind! That third point you make is always true and you will not be surprised to hear that there was always a small but noisy chorus questioning the "waste of taxpayers' money" during the long restoration of 42-32076.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:28 pm 
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TheBigBadGman wrote:
I've seen that sort of thing before. When I was advising on the Lake Greenwood B-25, I had to fight to convince the board that the airplane originally had a natural metal finish - never mind the fact that photos from its raising clearly showed an anti-glare panel and black stencil markings. The original pilot couldn't remember and suggested desert pink (for a training aircraft in South Carolina), so, in response to the evidence, the board argued that the paint washed off from having sat beneath the water. Likewise, the original pilot denied the bomber having been named Skunky, so partially to honor his wishes and partially because some found it "demeaning," we were told to not call her that. The problem was that "Skunky" was clearly painted on its nose in black when they raised her from the lake. This sort of idiocy is why I left.

I digress.

Steve, since you were involved with her discovery and restoration, I wonder if you could clarify this for me. I can't remember where I read it, but I recall seeing that the outboard wing required extensive and unsightly repair. Do I have her confused with another? Likewise, the story about McDuffee is not surprising, but there is one thing here that bothers me: When they painted her, they painted here completely inside and out. Of every picture taken of Shoo Shoo Baby, I don't think I have ever seen a portion of her unpainted. If they were going solely on McDuffee's arguments, shouldn't they, for example, have left the waist unpainted inside? Or might this just be a case of the restoration team not knowing any better at that time?

I don't want to sound critical. Despite the inaccuracy of the markings, the team at Dover did a great job. It's like the Coronado down in Pensacola - the markings might not be right, but the finished result is immaculate.

-G
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After the best part of 40 years it's not easy to answer those questions precisely, and I can't speak for the members of the restoration team, but I'll do the best I can.

At the time the restoration began nobody was quite sure exactly when Boeing Seattle ceased camouflaging B-17s - we knew it was in the B-17G-35-BO block, but we did not have photo coverage of all the planes. Roger Freeman and I compared notes but a lot of that block went to the MTO and neither of us had enough information about those aircraft. Our earliest bare metal aircraft was 42-32045, but I didn't find a photo of the camouflaged 42-32044 until years later (and by then the cut-off point had been discovered in a Boeing blueprint that had been provided to the restoration group).

Of course we were always certain that 42-32076 was unpainted, but when McDuffee raised doubts it really muddied the waters - just like in the case of your B-25. Boeing was approached and reportedly wrote a letter stating that they believed the plane would have been camouflaged - I've never seen the letter, which was "lost".

So I think "not knowing any better at the time" covers it pretty well but, as I said, I can't speak on behalf of the restoration team.

Both outboard wings were rebuilt "from the inside out", as Mike Leister put it.

Steve

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 2:32 pm 
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Nope! no OD from way back in 1944. (except for that small strip) Shame what egos can screw up.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:39 pm 
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Ah, I see. Thanks, Steve.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:24 am 
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This topic always makes me remember a visit my dad and I made to the restoration hangar at Dover AFB @ 1986.

Dad had been at Dover with the 512th MAW in the 50s so he was checking out the base and showing me around.

Pictures I have of the work in progress aren't great, but I hope they are of interest. Wasn't like today where everyone walked around with 8 megapixel HD camera phones in their pockets!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:47 am 
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An interesting point about the "was she camo" question. When one compares the Starcer lettering and picture from WWII and the re-creation, it is apparent that a photo must have been used to very accurately duplicate the font, size, and image placement - almost to the rivet line. If this is true, then one would assume they knew the plane was not camo. I know Mr Starcer was good, but I doubt he re-created the entire artwork simply from memory.

Ken

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:20 am 
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There seems to be quite a bit of tunnel vision going on here in this thread, sadly.

Knowing quite a few people who work for the NASM, and having partnered with them for several events, I can state unequivocally that they very much DO care... but here's the thing, they care about the ENTIRETY of aviation history. This is a heavily WWII-centered board, and as one of those folks for whom the amazing aircraft of WWII still fire the imagination, I certainly understand that.

But the sad fact is that the NASM is subject to the same federal budgetary vagaries as anything else in this country nowadays. They have a very narrow budget to work with, and they have to prioritize based not on public perception but on the space available, the condition of the artifacts, the experience of their team, the availability of materials required for restoration, etc. It's not nearly as simple as "Oh hey, eff all you WWII lovers, we're just gonna restore Piper Cubs and Concordes and y'all can suck it!" Nothing could possibly be further from the truth, and anyone harboring such idiotic notions needs to open their eyes and look at the preponderance of what's been done over the past few years at the U-H museum:

- Sikorsky JRS-1 Pearl Harbor survivor now on display
- Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver completed and on display
- B-26 "Flak Bait" currently under conservation
- Horten Ho IX currently under conservation
- Heinkel He 219 wings somewhere in the queue

Those are just the ones off the top of my head; there are likely more that I'm not remembering at the moment.

So stop with the ridiculous claims of some kind of anti-WWII bias because they have no basis in reality, and remember that the purpose of the NASM is to cover the entirety of aviation history, not just the parts you like best.

Lynn

PS: Steve B, I just finished the new Ken's Men book... utterly outstanding, sir. I know it was a team effort with Larry Hickey and others, but I know full well how long you've carried the torch for the B-17 men of the PTO (I'm currently re-reading "Flying Buccaneers") and your passion for telling their stories carries through in this book. It's a pleasure to have you here as a contributor.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:34 am 
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lmritger wrote:

Knowing quite a few people who work for the NASM, and having partnered with them for several events, I can state unequivocally that they very much DO care... but here's the thing, they care about the ENTIRETY of aviation history. This is a heavily WWII-centered board, and as one of those folks for whom the amazing aircraft of WWII still fire the imagination, I certainly understand that.

But the sad fact is that the NASM is subject to the same federal budgetary vagaries as anything else in this country nowadays. They have a very narrow budget to work with, and they have to prioritize based not on public perception but on the space available, the condition of the artifacts, the experience of their team, the availability of materials required for restoration, etc. It's not nearly as simple as "Oh hey, eff all you WWII lovers, we're just gonna restore Piper Cubs and Concordes and y'all can suck it!" Nothing could possibly be further from the truth, and anyone harboring such idiotic notions needs to open their eyes and look at the preponderance of what's been done over the past few years at the U-H museum:

- Sikorsky JRS-1 Pearl Harbor survivor now on display
- Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver completed and on display
- B-26 "Flak Bait" currently under conservation
- Horten Ho IX currently under conservation
- Heinkel He 219 wings somewhere in the queue

Those are just the ones off the top of my head; there are likely more that I'm not remembering at the moment.


I would be more sympathetic toward this view if they had done something with the B-17D The Swoose in the half century they had the airplane. This rare artifact of the early days of World War II and the only existent example of the shark finned B-17s was virtually ignored by the NASM. Granted, Paul Garber saved the airplane, but that's all the NASM did with it. It is to be a challenging job to restore it, no doubt, and one hopes the NMUSAF will turn some attention towards it in the near future. The NASM, at the least, could have reassembled the airplane and put it on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center in its current condition.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:11 pm 
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Lynn Ritger,

I believe you are a voice of reason amongst a chorus of desire.

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