World War II Bomber Drops Human Munitions Over Chicago

The Flying Fortress was made famous in its role in the Daylight Strategic Bombing Campaign of WWII and the post-war movies, like Memphis Belle, that made it an icon. Now this B-17 is no longer avoiding anti-aircraft fire or enemy fighters but has exchanged its explosive warheads in order to drop people from the bomb bay.


The four-engine taildragger was built in 1945, too late to see combat, and now flies as part the World War II aircraft collection with the Collings Foundation. This particular B-17 has served many roles over the years including Air and Sea Rescue, a water bombing firefighter, as well a testing the effects of three different nuclear explosion. Jumpers for the Chicagoland Skydiving Center had the rare opportunity drop from the belly of the antique bomber.

The Collings B-17 is part of the Wings of Freedom Flight Experience that is currently touring the country and gives patrons the opportunity to take flights in a variety of warbirds including the B-24 and B-25 bombers as well as a P-51 Mustang. Flights aren't cheap, but the majority of the cost is a tax-deductible donation to a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit and the chance to ride in one of these vintage aircraft might be considered priceless.

Chris is a pilot who loves airplanes and cars and his writing has been seen on Jalopnik. Contact him with questions or comments via twitter or email.



Someday I'm going to get to ride in one of these beauties. And I will cry. The whole. Damn. Flight.

And it will be worth it.