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Aviation in free world

At the beginning of the week I reported that in the EU you can no longer purchase a ticket to fly in a DC-3. However, if the need for the classic warbird experience strikes you, there are some truly amazing opportunities available in the US.

I was just perusing my August issue of The Aeroplane and found a special offer in it. With the reader code from that issue you can fly in not one, but two incredible aircraft, a B-17 and a B-25, for about four hundred quid. Check out the Yankee Air Museum if you want to see these gorgeous babes in flight.

They are scheduling flights from several locations in the US over the next several months so if you are traveling in the US, see if you can align your stars for an experience that I would just about die for.

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12 comments to Aviation in free world

  • Henning

    The norwegian Dakota is still flying, i saw it over a friends house on wednesday 🙂

    http://www.dakotanorway.no/

  • That’s not bad Dale. Not at all. It compares not at all badly with the price of going up in Duxford’s (you have been to Duxford Dale?) De Havilland Rapide for a very short jaunt.

    Personally, though… Somewhere in the RSA is a company operating the last Lightning T-5s and for a few grand you can go in one and it’s actually cheaper than going in some cranky old MiG. Of course you have to get to the RSA and that’s quite a hike but there’s other stuff worth seeing (The Drakensburg Mountains springs to mind) and the opportunity to be eaten by a Great White. Just a shame Thabo (“Aids doesn’t exist”) Mbeki has made such a fucking mess of the gaff.

  • llamas

    My home is under the flight path used by these wonderful warbirds on their jaunts out of Willow Run, and I get to admire them every sunny weekend. The noise of 4 big radials is like nothing else and you can hear them from 15-20 miles away. And they always fly nice and low!

    If you come to MI to fly in these big boys, take a side trip to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo, where you can take a joyride in an original Ford/Stout 4AT Tri-Motor.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Dale Amon

    I am sure the DC-3/C-47 will still be seen flying in European skies; it is just that they cannot fill them with paying passengers. It is also my understanding that the Dragon Rapide’s (an old deHavilland product!) may also be under threat like the DC-3’s but that is apparently not certain.

    I have not had the pleasure of Duxford but I know that it is an all around amazing place.

    The South African people fly the English Electric Lightnings (they have perhaps 4) a Buccaneer or two and I believe some Hunters as well, out of ‘Thunder City’, their facility at the airport. They do take you on supersonic flights.

    The Mig and SU flights in Russia and thereabouts are pricey but they will give you a high altitude run you cannot get anywhere else, up to 70,000 feet or so I think. And since it is Russia, they don have no stinkin regulation so they will give you one hell of a flight.

    In the US you can also fly a mock dogfight in AT6’s in Florida and get the gun camera video and wingtip and tail camera video of the cockpit. Even if you are not a pilot, they will get you up there, let you have at it and the instructor will sort it out if you get too badly bolloxed.

    I do not know if it is a regular thing or not, but at least some people have been able to fly as passengers in ‘sorties’ in a Lancaster in Canada, one of the very few in existence and the even smaller number (2?) that are fully airworthy. (There is a 3rd that ground runs in the UK)

  • Dale Amon

    Since llamas mentions Willow Run, I might also add that flying with them is also helping out with a good cause. They had a disastrous hanger fire a couple years ago and lost lots of documents and memorabilia… but they pushed the historic aircraft out of the burning hanger and saved them. That YAM is still a going concern is a testament to their dedication and I am sure they have a long way to go to full recovery, so every ticket they sell helps in the rebuilding process.

  • llamas

    The Yankee Air Museum is indeed a wonderful cause – I’m a contributor – and needs all the help it can get in its ultimate quest to find and restore a B-24 to flying status. Their hangar looks across Willow Run at the Hydramatic plant where Ford built B-24’s at the rate of 500 a month.

    They are hosting ‘Thunder over Michigan’, an extravaganza of warbirds of all kinds, on August 9th and 10th this year. Included are 6 P47’s, 4 B-17s, 2 B-24s, 4 P-51s and the list goes on. At $25 a head, it’s a bargain – and you get to see whether you can pick llamas out of the crowd.

    llater,

    llamas

  • an experience that I would just about die for

    Thousands of men did…

  • Way back in the dark ages (early 60s) I got to fly in a DC-3 that was carrying passengers. It was an experience.

    Conversation in the cabin was hopeless in flight.

    The only reason screaming kids are a problem these days is that aircraft are so quiet. We didn’t know how good we had it.

  • LOL! Good point:-)

  • Captain Ned

    Ah, the lovely DC-3. I only flew in one twice, courtesy of Air BVI (British Virgin Islands) between San Juan and Tortola in the spring of 1973. The flight to Tortola was uneventful beyond the vast quantities of oil blowing past the cowl flaps and streaming off the trailing edge of the wing and the somewhat non-existent definition of permissible volumes of carry-on baggage.

    The flight back to San Juan, though, was a completely different experience. Our DC-3 had no curtain or anything between the cockpit and the cabin. After the hand-over-hand climb up the aisle to whatever seat I wanted it quickly became apparent to me that the cockpit crew was missing a member. As I make this realization the pilot turns around and yells back into the cabin “Who wants to be the co-pilot today?” My father, whose service in the USAF has not been in piloting but who had absorbed enough to know which end of the plane should go first, quickly volunteered. The next step was to taxi up & down the runway a few times to scatter the local goat population. Goats removed, we taxied down to the far end of the strip. The pilot spent a couple of minutes making sure the engines could deliver full power (it was a short strip in those days and we were well loaded). Once he was satisfied he firewalled the throttles and off we went. As he rotated and we lifted off, the door at the aft end of the fuselage popped open. The pilot somewhat non-chalantly looked over his shoulder, saw the door flapping in the breeze, and asked “Could somebody go back and get that?”

    Needless to say, I did not volunteer. We did, though, make it safely to San Juan.

  • Report on a Thompson/Grampp MIG excursion here.

    I seem to remember one with pictures but don’t see it.

  • I live just a few miles from Falcon Field in Mesa, AZ. Falcon was a training field for RAF pilots during WWII. The Arizona wing of the Commemorative Air Force (f/k/a as the non-PC Confederate Air Force) has a museum there which is home to several flying warbirds, including the B-17 “Sentimental Journey”. For $425 it’s possible to take a ride (Link)in her and for $250 you can ride in a C-45 (twin Beech) or and SNJ. Elsewhere on the field another organization has a B-25 on which you can buy a flight.