Fri, Oct 24, 2008
Amidst all the gleaming and shiny new whiz-bangs at Oshkosh
2008, were a few ghosts of the past. Birds that had seen better
days and been forced to prove themselves on the field of battle not
once but a hundred times... and more. The have tales to tell and
inside them all lay the hopes, dreams and even blood of the brave
crews that chased the enemies of freedom from the skies, despite
the fear, the danger and the uncertainty of a World war.
One of those ghosts looks an awful lot like a B-17... by the
name of "Thunderbird."
The B-17 Flying Fortress was an Army Air Corps heavy-duty bomber
from World War II. These four-engine aircraft flew strategic
bombing missions over Europe armed with .50 caliber machine guns
and five thousand pounds of bombs. 13,000 B-17’s were
produced over the course of the war, of which only 13 still are
airworthy today. The Lone Star Flight Museum’s B-17 is
painted in the colors of ‘Thunderbird’, an aircraft
with the 303rd bomb group which flew 116 missions during World War
The Lone Star Flight Museum tells ANN that it , a 501 (c)(3)
self-supporting educational museum, began as a private aircraft
collection in June 1985. The acquisition of more aircraft quickly
led to a search for a new home. In 1990, construction of a 50,000
sq. ft. Phase I facility began at Galveston's Scholes Field.
Continued rapid growth required construction of a 30,000 sq. ft.
Phase II hangar in 1991. Along with the aircraft collection, the
LSFM began to acquire and display aviation memorabilia and
artifacts, develop educational programs, and recruit volunteers
through a Membership Program implemented in July 1991. The LSFM
receives over 35,000 of volunteer service hours each year. Many
programs and participation opportunities are available for members
to promote and support the LSFM mission.
The Museum's flying collection of award winning aircraft
annually logs more than 40,000 cross-country air miles to
participate in flying displays and air shows. For instance, the
Museum's P-47 Thunderbolt participates in the United States Air
Force "Heritage Flight" program. Comprised of Air Force
demonstration pilots and select vintage aircraft, the "Heritage
Flight" unites the classic war birds of yesterday with current
inventory jet fighters at aviation events across the country. This
unique production takes the living history lesson to the public in
the air and is seen by over 1.5 million people each year.
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