TIME TRAVELERS WWII PLANES RUMBLE THROUGH VALLEY SKIES.
Byline: Joseph Giordono Staff Writer
VAN NUYS - If you think today's commercial air travel is bad, consider the conditions facing crews of high-altitude bombers in World War II: temperatures 40 degrees below zero, 14-hour missions and the very real possibility that theirs would be a one-way ticket.
In a sneak preview sneak preview
A single public showing of a movie before its general release.
Noun 1. sneak preview - a preview to test audience reactions Monday of Aviation Expo 2001 at Van Nuys Airport Van Nuys Airport (IATA: VNY, ICAO: KVNY, FAA LID: VNY) is a public airport located in Van Nuys, California in the San Fernando Valley, within the Los Angeles city limits. , media representatives hopped aboard the only working B-29 Superfortress The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was a four-engine heavy bomber propeller aircraft flown by the United States Army Air Forces in World War II and other military organizations afterwards. The name "Superfortress" was derived from its well-known predecessor, the B-17 Flying Fortress. and one of only three operating B-24 Liberator
``If you think the heat, the noise and the rattling today were bad, imagine how it felt over enemy territory with someone trying to shoot you down,'' J.C. Brandt, co-pilot of the B-24 nicknamed Diamond Lil Diamond Lil can refer to:
Both planes, flown and serviced by the Confederate Air Force, a group of aviation enthusiasts dedicated to the preservation of WWII WWII
World War II
WWII World War Two aircraft, are in town for the free weekend show expected to attract more than 300,000 people. Aerial demonstrations by the U.S. Army's Golden Knights
But the star attraction will the vintage planes.
The B-29 Superfortress is the last of its kind capable of flight. Nicknamed Fifi, it was manufactured in 1945 and was on its way into service when the war ended.
Diamond Lil was manufactured in 1941, the 18th of about 19,000 B-24s made in the war years. The plane was intended to patrol for German submarines but was converted for VIP transportation after a training accident.
In 1946 it was purchased by the Continental Can Co. and turned into an executive aircraft. The Confederate Air Force purchased it almost two decades later, and the plane has since logged more than 15,000 miles on its original airframe.
``This is not just about preserving airplanes, but preserving the memory of what people did in them,'' said Keith Kibbe of the Confederate Air Force. According to Kibbe, the planes now log about 100 hours of flight time each year.
``Flying this one is a whole world of difference, but it sure is a lot of fun,'' Col. Jack Bradshaw of Dallas, an 80-year-old former fighter pilot, said about Diamond Lil.
Bradshaw, who flew with both the Royal Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Corp during World War II, spends eight to 10 weeks a year touring with and flying the B-24, and he will accompany it for a stop in Sacramento after the Van Nuys show.
Among those on the 45-minute flight Monday was August Eltz Jr. of Santa Clarita. Eltz won the flight when his daughter's Father's Day essay was chosen as a Daily News contest winner.
``It's a little strange knowing that these planes are almost as old as I am,'' said Eltz, who was born in 1938. ``But it was a lot of fun.''
(1) Viewed from a B-24 Liberator, the last functioning B-29 Superfortress flies over the San Fernando Valley San Fernando Valley
Valley, southern California, U.S. Northwest of central Los Angeles, the valley is bounded by the San Gabriel, Santa Susana, and Santa Monica mountains and the Simi Hills. on Monday.
(2) Carl Lindou, pointing, and his son C.J. check out Diamond Lil, one of the last three B-24s that can still fly. The plane will fly in the Van Nuys air show this weekend.
John Kennedy/Special to the Daily News