Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Warbirds

A pair of warbirds came to town yesterday. One was the only B-24 Liberator still in flyable condition. The other was a B-17 Flying Fortress, one of only a handful still functioning.

These WWII bombers are amazing machines. I wasn't able to see them up close before they departed, though I was able to crawl through them on a previous visit. However, since I live just a mile from the Monterey airport, I was able to enjoy seeing them in flight.

These planes are not large by today's standards, being roughly the size of a Boeing 737 airliner, yet they are visually imposing. They are grand machines that helped end the worst war the world has ever seen.

It is an honor to watch these birds still flying. It is equally impressive to hear them. There is nothing like sound of four radial piston engines working together to take a bomber into the air. It's not quite a growl, it's not quite a rumble, but it's a little of both. It can be heard for some distance, but it is not particularly loud. It is rather reassuring, soothing, even.

If you ever have a chance to see one, do not hesitate to go. If you can't get to the display, and you see one overhead, be sure to stop, look, listen, and think about what they and their crews did for us 60 years ago.

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