Sunday, July 25th, 2010

image of a B-17 Flying Fortress at Truax Field, Madison, WI

Lots of planes fly over our house. When the wind is right they cruise past, low and slow as if they’re going to land right in the middle of our street, on the way to the airport north of town. I’ve gotten used to the sound of jet planes, which often sound oddly like prop planes, and the sound of prop planes that sound like lawn mowers, but the sound of four nine-cylinder radial Wright “Cyclone” engines is not a sound we hear very often, and it’s not easily mistaken for anything else. I really have to look up when I hear it.

“Holy shit!” I sputtered, shading my eyes to catch sight of the World War Two bomber flying just five hundred feet or so above our house, “that’s a freaking B-17!” It puttered along, serene as a glider but one hell of a lot nosier, gear down, until it disappeared over the trees.

I had just finished up an afternoon’s work in the basement and was just about to jump in the shower anyway. As soon as I was cleaned up and presentable to the general public, I grabbed my camera, jumped in the car and motored out to the airport to see if I could catch sight of it somewhere on the tarmac. I figured it shouldn’t be too hard to spot.

And it wasn’t. I caught sight of it through the windows of the terminal and drove around the perimeter road until I found a spot close enough to the fence to snap a pretty good photo of the plane from the rear quarter. I’m not sure why it stopped over in Madison. The most plausible explanation is that it was on the way to the annual EAA air show in Oshkosh where you’ll find old birds like this on display from now through the end of the week.

Flying Fort | 12:47 pm CDT
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