A trip above JamestownGraced with a pinup art rendition of Betty Grable and its skin made almost entirely of shining aluminum, the Sentimental Journey looks like a piece of aviation art.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
Editor’s note: Sun Reporter Keith Norman took a ride on Sentimental Journey Friday afternoon and recorded a video of the trip, which can be seen on The Sun’s Web site, www.jamestownsun.com. The following is his account of the flight.
Graced with a pinup art rendition of Betty Grable and its skin made almost entirely of shining aluminum, the Sentimental Journey looks like a piece of aviation art.
But the four engines provide enough power to wiggle Betty’s ... well, we don’t have to go into all the details of the flight I took in the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber over Jamestown Friday afternoon.
The plane is built for pure power. The engines, each rated at 1,200 horsepower, could pull the plane to altitudes where the air could be as cold as 60 degrees below zero. And a note for our energy challenged times: each engine gulps 50 gallons of fuel per hour of operation.
A trip on the Sentimental Journey can be a bit disconcerting for someone used to modern aircraft. You see the framework of the plane as you sit in her open fuselage. The only thing between you and blue sky you are hurtling through is the thin aluminum skin.
Then there are the cables that control a B-17. One end of each of these wires is attached to a control in the cockpit. The other ends are attached to things like the rudder in the tail of the plane and the ailerons on the wings. All handy little devices that keep the plane under control.
And the middle of those cable are in the open above you as you sit in the fuselage. We were warned not to grab them if we moved around the cabin because it irritated the pilots.
The Sentimental Journey and Betty gave us a heck of a ride back in time as well as around the Jamestown area. Everyone of the crew of gunners on board for the flight left with a little more knowledge about how World War II was fought, a lot more respect for the young men that took to the skies in that conflict and a smile on their faces.
Betty Grable can have that effect on people.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org