As you know, I love aviation. One of the gems that we have in the Phoenix Valley is the Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force. This amazing group spends huge amounts of money and time making sure that the legacies of our fighting men and women of the past whose battlefield was in the sky are preserved. They don’t just take airplane carcasses and put them in a museum; they get them flying again.
It’s one thing to look at static displays of airplanes, and it doesn’t suck to do this. But there is no way to really feel the soul of an airplane, especially a beast from so long ago, unless you can feel the vibration of two or for giant piston engines vibrating in your chest, see it lumber down the runway, and take off. Even better, be in it. The work that the CAF does in keeping this living history going is to be applauded.
As for this video, the Arizona Wing had this done to highlight their two prized birds; Sentimental Journey, a beautifully restored B-17 that has been the anchor of the wing for some time, and Maid in the Shade, a recently completed restoration of a B-25N “Mitchell”, the newest stable mate of the B-17. It is beautifully done and shows off not only the airplanes but also the amazing Arizona desert terrain east of Phoenix. The takeoff is from our local airport, Falcon Field (KFFZ), where the Arizona Wing has their home and their museum here in Mesa. Also, if you’re interested, I did an interview with the chief pilot and the chief mechanic of Maid in the Shade recently for the Pilotcast, and we talk a bit about this near the end of episode 84, and even included some of that interview at the very end. For the uninitiated, you can easily tell the difference between the two airplanes in this video because the B-17 has four engines, the B-25 has only two. The only thing wrong with this video that I can see is that it isn’t long enough.
There’s not much else to say before you watch. Except, perhaps, that if this doesn’t invoke some sort of emotion as you watch, then, I’m sorry, we just can’t be friends. Enjoy.