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B-17 question

Discussion in 'Aircraft' started by fatfenders, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. fatfenders

    fatfenders recruit

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    [​IMG]Recently I noticed a B-17 flying around. Googled. Found out they would be giving rides the next day. Well, an argument could be made that I have just a whole bunch of things $430 could be better spent on but what the heck. So I went for a ride on the "Liberty Belle". What a hoot. Now I am your average WWII buff, a pilot, all that, and would like to think I know a little something about warbirds but I have never seen the control shown here in this photo for what I assume was a method for the bombardier to control the A/C on a bomb run. I guess I always assumed that was done by moving dials on the bombsite.
     

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  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Hmmm...an interesting question...can't say i've seen this either...The English bombadier would talk to the pilot and HE would make the alterations..."Left...left....right....steady"....I do remember a bombing scenerio where the bombadier takes the controls to drop point...just not on the 17s...hmmm...willing to be educated here!
     
  3. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    It controls the guns on the chin turret.

    B17 Details

    [​IMG]
     
  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Good one, Ike.
     
  5. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Thanks Ike, I was thinking along the same line.
     
  6. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    The bombsight was an input source to the autopilot. The pilot's autopilot control panel had a Remote Control Transfer knob which changed the input source to the bombsight. At that point the bombardier was driving the autopilot via the bombsight. The knob is in the lower right of the panel in the attachment.

    View attachment 13044
     

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  7. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    So, does the navigator log in flight time while he is lining up the bomb sight? After an extended period of bombing runs, it adds up you know.
     
  8. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    Nah, the navigator was busy filling out his navigation logs.:confused: The bombardier might have had a claim, but he still wasn't pilot in command.
     
  9. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    D'oh! I got the two mixed up. I meant to ask if the bombardier got credit for flying time, not the navigator. Silly me.
     
  10. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    The Liberty Belle restoration is missing the gunsight for the chin turret. Its shown in the diagram PzJgr posted, but here's a different perspective.
    View attachment 13049

    It comes from a booklet titled "Operation: Bendix Chin Turret" that can be found here for anyone wanting more information:
    Direct Link Prohibited

    A training booklet on the technical aspects of the chin turret is also available.
    Direct Link Prohibited

    Edit: Whoops, the website doesn't allow direct links to documents. You can find the documents by using the "search the collection" action under "view the collection". Search for "chin turret".
    http://aafcollection.info/items/list.php
     

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  11. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    Fatfenders, so you liked your B17 ride? I flew on the Collings Foundation B17 back in 1994.
     
  12. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    mccoffee has it right. It's the chin turret controls.
     
  13. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    Thanks, but PzJgr was first to offer the identification.
     
  14. fatfenders

    fatfenders recruit

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    Wow... sorta-kinda forgot about this thread. Yes. What an "eye-opener". Whenever I have had the opportunity to do something like this I usually squint up my eyes and try'n imagine what it would have been like for those brave young men. Hour after hour of deafening noise, bone chilling cold, the close cramped quarters (somehow I had imagined that bird to be bigger inside), the flak, the fighters, the weather. I now have a tiny little window of experience with which to understand their lot and a huge appreciation for what they went through.
    What a tragedy that it went up in flames not long after I went for that ride.
     
  15. surfersami

    surfersami Member

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    I worked with a B-17 Bombardier until last year, he told me he hated the chin turret, the guns would freeze up and jam a lot. He said most missions he would just point them at the incoming planes and hoped it made them nervous. He did 35 missions on B-17s, including those over the bulge.
     

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