************ UPDATE ************
August 21, 2013
I was recently contacted by Mr. Phil Precht, a former crew member of "Chuckie" who informed me that the information in this post is completely inaccurate regarding the history of this great plane. Needless to say, I was quite surprised to hear this and wanted to learn more about the aircraft's true history.
As it turns out, the representative at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, unbelievably provided me with erroneous information on my visit there. I find this to be totally unacceptable behavior on a number of fronts and can only wonder why someone would rattle off such a fabrication with authority.
In any case, Mr. Precht was kind enough to connect me with the Wife of the gentleman who actually owned the plane for many years, Mrs. Charlyn "Chuckie" Hospers. I personally spoke with Mrs. Hospers by phone and thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. She was most gracious for me contacting her so that the record here can be corrected, which is extremely important for all. I am personally not at all interested in fabricated and sensationalized stories but rather, want to post actual facts about the subjects I choose to photograph.
I learned that the plane had been a fire ant bomber in Alabama before being purchased by the late Colonel Doc William D. Hospers in the late 1970's. Col Hospers then flew the plane to his home of Fort Worth Texas, landing her at Meacham Field. He subsequently named the plane for his wife, whose nickname is "Chuckie".
So the information initially provided to me, while making for a great story, is untrue. This plane has NO relationship with Chuck Yeager, as indicated by the museum representative, whose name I wish I had obtained during that visit years ago. We trust museum personnel to be knowledgeable about what is on display and generally accept what they tell us as being fact. In this case, it was surely an eye-opener for me.
The latest update I received from Mr. Precht is that the B-17 Chuckie, was sold by the Military Aviation Museum to Tillamook Air Museum in Oregon and has since been flown across country to her new home.
As I learn more about the history of this aircraft, I will return and update this post accordingly.
Many thanks to Mr. Phil Precht, who spent many years working on this aircraft and to Mrs. Chuckie Hospers for the opportunity to not only learn more about this plane's history, but also for the opportunity to converse with them and correct the record here regarding this subject.
By the way, Mrs. Hospers is currently affiliated with the Vintage Flying Museum in Ft. Worth, Texas.
ORIGINAL POST BELOW
Today we'll take another fly-by the Military Aviation Museum and have a look at Chuckie, the B-17 bomber. The plane is affectionately named for the famous aviator Chuck Yeager, one of the most decorated airmen of modern times. The B-17 bomber, also know as the "Flying Fortress" was key to gaining air superiority during the second world war. It was known for it's long range, precision and ability to defend itself as a strategic bomber. In short, this was the badass ruler of the skies.
Let's hope that every bomber known to man will someday become museum pieces and obsolete, but I digress. The B-17 was introduced in April of 1938 and was primarily used by the United States Army Air Force.
Chuckie has been refurbished and was flown in to Virginia Beach from Meacham Field in Fort Worth on January 22, 2011. It's such a huge plane that I'm guessing they will eventually build a special hangar for it's museum life.
Under the harsh glare of a mid-day sun I ran off quite a few shots, a few of which I share below. I should mention the obvious, the plane no longer has it's battle colors of OD green. :-)
Above we have a gun port, key to air defense. Not certain of the weapon but it's likely one that shoots 50 caliber shells, a devastating round.
Two of the 4 powerful engines. The original setup used 750-HP Pratt & Whtney engines. They were replaced by 930-HP Wright Cyclones, an engine that pushed this beast to speeds of 320 MPH. Not sure which model appears here.
To wrap up we have an angled view above and a black & white version below, which sort of fits with that particular time period.
Thanks for visiting, everyone!