Friday, February 29, 2008

Janet's Birthday Photo

Well, I had great plans for a blog today starting off with “…[we] slipped the surly bonds of earth, and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; …”

Yesterday was an unnumbered reiteration of Janet’s 39th birthday. She loves the grand old warplanes of WWII as much as I. At the age of four or five, her first flying experience was in a biplane, a relic of WWI that landed in a field behind her grandparent’s home in Port Arthur.

Since we had an opportunity to fly in a B17 Flying Fortress from the Lone Star Flight Museum, I thought that would be an appropriate birthday gift (of course, I wanted to go too.)

Living only ten miles from Shepherd Hill Army Air Base, I recall sitting on the front porch step watching the planes comes and go. Black Widows, Lightings, Mustangs, Flying Fortresses, Liberators became the fantasies of childhood and I could identify all of them, and many more, long before I started to school. If only my memory were still that good.

If I were lucky the Mustangs would practice strafing runs over the fields across the road from my home. I still remember the excitement the first time I saw a British Spitfire join in.

I had great plans to shoot photos of Janet in her bright red Lone Star Flight Museum shirt sitting in the cockpit for a birthday portrait. However, there was no way to get her into the plane so the attached is the official birthday portrait for 2008 and I enjoyed the flight alone.

For an almost 30 minutes the deafening roar of the four engines drowned out the world. It may have been the most expensive 30 minutes of entertainment I have ever enjoyed, but I would do it again in a heartbeat and I may since I now have a paid up ticket. The flights are going to be available again in a couple of weeks so I might do the B17 again or add a little to it and split it between the B25 and the Stearman which I hope they are better equipped to handle fat old men. ..

Although I could fit into the gun turret on top of the fuselage, I was wedged in so tightly with the controls against my chest that the guns were locked in a single position. The nose turret was quite comfortable once you got there but the crawl getting there was a little tight. For a tail gunner you would have to slice me in half!

Everwhat, some things are just worth doing even if you only do them once.

“…with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space, put out my hand and touched the face of God.” -- John Gillespie Magee’s High Flight

Photos from the flight can be seen at Janet's Birthday Present 2008

1 comment:

  1. What will you give me for my birthday. Great article,and even greater photo's. I love the shot that you have with the blog. Which lens, what settings???