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Sentimental Journey

I saw Sentimental Journey, the B-17 operated by the Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force at DeKalb, Illinois DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport (DKB) during DeKalb's Corn Fest.

It was certainly a strange experience: They shut down part of the airport and brought in all the trappings of a county fair -- food-on-a-stick vendors, midway games, carnival rides. Many people were wearing foam corn hats.

Now, for those of you not in the know, Illinois and Wisconsin (my home state) have a bit of an interstate rivalry. The Illinoisans call us "cheeseheads" and we call them "FIBs" (an acronym I cannot expand on a family-oriented web site). We have turned the "cheesehead" epithet into a badge of honor, and if you've ever seen a Green Bay Packer football game, you've undoubtedly seen the foam cheesehead hats. (Realistically, there's not much an Illinoisan can do with a moniker such as "FIB".)

To see Illinoisans, a Wisconsinite's sworn enemy, parading around in what is essentially a rip-off of the original cheesehead hat just made the experience all the more bizarre.

But, anyway, back to the B-17.

The CAF's commemorative book tells the story of Sentimental Journey: Like many surviving B-17s, Sentimental Journey was manufactured late in the war and never saw action in Europe. She did, however, perform plenty of military service: She was converted to an RB-17G, doing photo mapping in the Pacific and was later converted to a DB-17P, an unmanned, radio-controlled drone during Operation Greenhouse to test the effects of nuclear blasts on aircraft. After her military service she flew 18 years as a fire bomber for Aero Union Corporation before being purchased by the Commemorative Air Force.

The CAF likes to brag that Sentimental Journey is one of the most authentically-restored (or words to that effect) B-17s today, and note that the chin, top, ball, and tail turrets are all original and fully operational.

 
B-17 Exterior
B-17 Exterior
B-17 Interior
B-17 Interior
B-17 Flight
B-17 Flight