Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Features

March 5, 2014

Building WWII history

Ohio museum volunteers building vintage war plane

(Continued)

"If you had to pick an airplane that would attract the public attention, the B-17 is the one to pick," says the 61-year-old Drain, whose father was a radio operator on a Flying Fortress during the war. Drain now teaches a class on aviation occupations at a local vocational school and brings his students to help out with the project, which can be inspected by visitors any time the museum is open.

More than 12,700 B-17s were built for the war effort, most of them pressed into service for daylight precision bombing raids on industrial targets in occupied Europe from small bases in England between 1942 and 1945. It was harrowing duty that claimed the lives of two out of three young men — their average age was 20 — who served on the storied planes.

After the war, many B-17s were unceremoniously left to rust in scrap yards or pressed into other service. Around 40 are left around the world today, with fewer than a dozen in flying condition.

Coincidentally, history's most celebrated B-17 — Memphis Belle — is currently being restored about 40 miles away at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton. The Belle got the royal treatment from the military brass in 1943 after becoming one of the first B-17s to survive the required 25 missions at a time when American bombers were suffering heavy losses. Museum spokesman Rob Bardua says public display of the plane is still years away, although behind-the-scenes tours allow visitors to see the restoration work.

The fact that the Memphis Belle and other B-17s at the much-larger Air Force museum will never leave the ground again motivates the Urbana museum crew even more in their quest to make the Champaign Lady a flying example.

"There was never a decision to make. When we started the project, it was to make it fly," says Dave Shiffer, whose ride aboard a touring B-17 with his father and brother in 2005 eventually led to the B-17 project and the founding of the nonprofit museum.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Remote solutions 1 Remote solutions Remote controls, designed to make life easier and more convenient, have become so numerous in many homes that keeping track of them is a challenge all its own. There are often separate remotes for the TV, DVD player, cable box and sound system. And i

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sometimes it's the parents, not the child, who need fixing I absolutely love it when people begin to realize that the problems they're having with a child are of their own making; when they begin to realize, in other words, that the child is not the problem. They are! All this time (however long that might b

    July 31, 2014

  • Film Review Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Chris Pratt enters a new 'Galaxy' NEW YORK — After Chris Pratt tweeted a shirtless photo of himself to flaunt the shape he had gotten into for “Zero Dark Thirty,” he received, he says, a “giant ball of criticism” from his friends. It also helped land him the lead in one of the summer

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • New Amish Cook introduces her family

    There's nothing quite like eating that first corn on the cob, spotting a red tomato for the first time or picking that tiny cucumber that hasn't quite matured yet.

    July 28, 2014

  • Gardening-Tiny Vegetables [Duplicate] Tiny vegetables Truman Capote famously told friends that the very wealthy eat better vegetables — tiny ones. So there's another plus for gardening: It's easier to eat the way the super-rich do. Not that smaller is always better in the world of vegetables. A cucumber

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • McCauley 02 Half a Century and Happy: The McCauleys Galveston High School freshman James “Jim” McCauley showed he had a crush on eighth-grader Carlis VerBryck by tormenting her. He would see her in the hallway, pull the sashes in her dress, and run away. Carlis was not impressed. “I was pretty aggrava

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • CARSON: Be strong in the Lord You may ask, “Brother Mike what is the point of my being faithful to God? It appears as if I am not gaining any ground. I’m faced with ‘drama,’ setbacks, heartache, illness, issues, negativity, pressure, being lied upon and talked about. I am a tithe

    July 26, 2014

  • Teens Doping [Duplicate] The rise in teen doping NEW YORK (AP) — Experimentation with human growth hormones by America's teens more than doubled in the past year, as more young people looked to drugs to boost their athletic performance and improve their looks, according to a new, large-scale nation

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • NYC Stacked Apartments-15 [Duplicate] Erasing the pre-fab stigma NEW YORK (AP) — In a city piled high with ambitious architecture, a seven-floor structure off the beaten path boasts a distinction of its own: It's billed as the first multistory, modular-built apartment building to open in the nation's apartment cap

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • ROSEMOND: Night training a toddler

    Q: Using your advice, I successfully toilet-trained my daughter by age 16 months. It is now three months later and we are still using diapers at naps and nighttime. At her nap, which lasts several hours, she fully soaks her diaper. At night

    July 24, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller