For the last twenty seven years Kevin has been a proud member of the Sally B Supporters Club [sallyb.org.uk], an association devoted to the restoration and maintenance of the last airworthy B17 bomber in Europe. Sally B's permanent home is the Imperial War Museum at Duxford [iwm.org.uk], about thirty minutes' drive from our house. During the summer she has pride of place outside one of the hangars, in readiness for her various airshow displays. However, during the winter months the club's volunteers move her into one of the museum's hangars to carry out her annual maintenance and offer guided tours to club members on the first Sunday of the month. We arrived there early this morning, first in the tour queue, and we were shown her every nook and cranny by Jo, our volunteer guide. Jo allowed us to clamber right through to the cockpit where Kevin took the pilot's seat and I sat in the co-pilot's seat. Afterwards we crawled through the narrow tunnel running beneath the cockpit which leads to the small area occupied by the navigator and bomb-aimer when she was in action during World War II. While we had fun exploring these spaces it's a sobering thought to imagine how difficult it must have been for the eight crew members to carry out their duties in such tight spaces, often in sub-zero temperatures, and under fire from the enemy. All that remains now is for me to capture some photos of Sally B in flight, but for that we'll have to wait until the Duxford Airshow next summer when her team have finished fettling her over the winter.
The secrets of Sally B
by Helen Hooker November. 03, 2013 5954 views