Saturday, September 14, 2013

When God smiles on you....

So there I was feeling a bit grumpy and sorry for myself when I heard it.  That DEEP low rumble.  Aircraft! Big! Radial engines!

How did I come to be in this grumpy state? There is an event at work requiring my attention on a weekend.  The same weekend of a blog shoot in WV (3 hours-ish away) and the same weekend of a Lure Coursing event that a certain Irish Wolfhound under my roof would love to attend.  I am stuck on a short leash.

Wife and dog get up early and head to the Coursing event, I stay home and head off to my event, grumpy that it exists.  I make my official appearance, make sure all under my purview is operating as it should, and wander home again.  Wife has been texting excitedly about the dog running (it is amazing to see these critter run flat out) and I have decided to head out and join them.  I make a brief stop at a WalMart out of my usual range, near my event, for outing supplies and my ubiquitous check of the ammo locker.  Oh goodie! Bulk packs of 12Gauge slugs, both I and my local store are out and I have some scope work to do with my shotie. 

Heading home to pick up the video camera when the phone rings: Wife reports a minor injury to the dog that ends the coursing participation.  Nothing serious but her running is done for today.  Well, crap!  No point in driving out to watch or video.  So I head home with no major plans for the day remaining.  I decide it is time to check e-mail and ammo prices.  I do so wish the politicians (that damnable blight upon humanity that they are) would stop with all the attempts at gun and ammo restrictions.  I long for the day when there was at least a good chance that my ammo of need MIGHT be on a shelf at some local establishment.  I find that I now follow the 5.56mm prices like a Wall Street maven follows the Dow.

But any who, there I am at the computer when I start to notice that unusual sound building to the point where the house is vibrating.  My neighbors probably already think me a bit odd but would have had it confirmed when I run out into the front yard and start scanning the sky for the sound.  It is in the cedar tree or rather behind it, moving away.  I round the tree and can finally see it: broad low rounded wings, 4 big radial engines, single tail.  Why is a B-17 flying over my house?  I stand alone in my front yard, no neighbors have seen either me or the aircraft.  I watch in awe as it heads away to the east.  Had I not been tethered to town for my event, had I not given up on the Coursing event, I would not have been here at this moment.  Sure tasted like lemon aide all of a sudden.

If Wikipedia is accurate, there are 11 surviving, flyable B-17s in the United States, all “G” models, most on the west coast.  I have visited a couple in my life at air shows and had one serendipitous flyby while on a vacation.  Today one visited my house.  A quick check for a nearby air show comes up empty. What are the odds?

But as they say “Wait there’s more”!  I am truly at this point in my writing when I hear it again!  Could it be?  I run outside this time remembering to grab the SLR on the way out the door.  It is behind the house this time my view is blocked but it is close.  I find the angle between the house and the trees, I draw the camera to my eye.  I forget to focus but it looks ok. I forget to zoom but I can see it in the viewfinder.  CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, until my view is blocked by other houses and trees.  I realize my hair is standing on end.  Yes, I am an airplane geek.  I always have been.

I will attempt to blow up the picks if they worked out and add them to the post. What I could not see on the first pass was the paintjob.  This bird is flat olive drab with yellow markings.  I hope the pics are clear! 

It has made a third pass and my son was home to see it as well.  obviously my quick google-fu has failed to find some local event.  But I shall try again.
Google-fu to the rescue.  The aircraft "The Movie Memphis Belle" not to be confused with the original "Memphis Belle" but was her stand in for the movie of that name is making an appearance at the Hanover County Airport today.  They are selling rides and must be giving good value for the ticket prices ($450.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!) as my house is almost 11 miles from there.  My guess is that they are about 2000 feet up and they have made a 4th pass over the house this time with my wife witnessing. The bird is a "G" model originally but does not wear the chin turret to better match the original.