I expected a B-17 to be a lot bigger, but it really is a beautiful plane. They did a great job restoring it (it spent some time as a crop duster) and it’s very cool they put all the machine guns back on it. I’m also surprised they let us just wander through it. Five bucks well spent.
You hear the plane called the Flying Fortress and see it bristling with machine guns and imagine it as an unstoppable weapon. But then you get a little closer and walk inside, and you see the cramped quarters and the thin hull, and how confined the tail gunner and especially the belly gunner are, and you get a sense of just how vulnerable the Flying Fortress really could be.
You get a sense of the tough conditions for the crew, and the courage it took to get back into that plane mission after mission. Flying for hours in a cramped position, high up in the thin, cold atmosphere. Flying through swarms of enemy fighters and clouds of anti-aircraft shrapnel. Jesus.
You can check out the rest of the set on Flickr, including more interior and exterior shots and some pictures of the bombs, which are also smaller than I expected. She also has her own Wikipedia page, where you can learn more about her history, and B17.org, where you can find out if she’ll be visiting near you. I highly recommend you check it out if you have the opportunity, because she won’t be around forever.
Photography-wise, no special shooting. I shot in RAW with an external SpeedLite, which I turned off and on at various points around the plane. I did screw up and forget to check my ISO, so some of the pics came out noisier than I expected, but that’s what I get for not checking my gear.
Still, I’m happy with the pics, and if nothing else they’ll be good reminders for the kids and I after our visit.