Liberty Belle B-17 Flying Fortress
In 2007 a restored B-17, the Liberty Belle, was flown to Charleston SC
Every now and then in life we have an opportunity to do something really special. For me it was going on a unique B-17 Flying Fortress Flight and putting together these B-17 Scrapbook Layouts about my trip on the World War II Flying Fortress, Liberty Belle.
My father had flown B-17's during World War II and every time we went to an Air Show, we would scout out to see if one was available so he could show me where his position was and what he did as a Navigator in the aircraft.
and I was fortunate enough to be able to get a seat on one of the short flights. Thus, these Liberty Belle B-17 Layouts. Tragically, on June 13, 2011, the Liberty Belle experienced an in-flight fire, forced landed and is out of commission. We all hope not permanently. Please check out their web site for an accurate accounting of what happened.
These are the B-17 Scrapbook photos and layouts from that amazing trip.
While I covered some of these layouts and embellishments in
Step #3 of the Quick Start Guide,
I will review them again in the context of the entire scrapbook.
I chose to go very simple with all these Liberty Belle B-17 Layouts and used the colors of navy and light blue, tan and white for both the backgrounds and mattes. My color choices were actually made for me when I received a Club Scrap.com kit at the Wisconsin Retreat in 2005 entitled "Aviation". I loved the kit and saved it until I took this flight.
Since these layouts were all going to be in the same book, I used an Air Force Medallion album from K & Company. I used very few embellishments and kept all the layouts very plain so as to really focus on the photos.
Click on Album Cover to go to the Military Album Scrapbook Store.
The Title Tag "B-17"
was done with letter stickers and triple matted on tan, dark blue and white with light blue brads at the corners. When I looked at the how the aircraft was made, the aluminum sheets were riveted about every inch, so the brads remind me of the riveting. The name of the aircraft in the photo at the top displays the name of "Liberty Belle" in typical B-17 Flying Fortress nose-art fashion.
The tan background paper had drawings of an old airplane.________________________________________________
These next two pages of B-17 Scrapbook Layouts use a rubber stamp image of an older airplane stamped in dark blue to make the background paper. The 12 x 12 page was cut in at 5 inches with one piece on each side of the 2-page layout.
The photos were all matted in dark blue as was the Air Force shield.
These next pages for the B-17 Scrapbook Layouts on dark blue with only light blue mattes focus on individual sections of the aircraft. The nose where the navigator and bombadier sat, the side gunner positions, the Ball Turret underneath where another gunner was literally wedged in.
These next B-17 Scrapbook Layouts show inside the cockpit for the Pilot and Co-pilot and the two seats directly behind where the Navigator and Bombadier sat for the take off's and landings.
Since my father was a Navigator, I was put in his seat for the take off and landing. The crew for this flight were kind enough to explain my dad's position which really made the flight so much more interesting.
For these and several other Liberty Belle B-17 Layouts throughout the scrapbook, I was unable to get back far enough to get the scope of everything in the cockpit so I took several photos and manually placed them together to get larger photos - sort of a manual merging or stitching of photos.
This next set of B-17 Scrapbook Layouts focuses on the views looking out the windows.
Photos show the start of each engine, the view through the upper window where another gunner resided, and even a view of the seat belt that was so large it could have held the entire airplane together if wrapped around the outside. The Seat Belt was a little complicated to fasten and once buckled in, I had to have help to get out. I can now imagine just how bumpy the rides in these could have been.
These next B-17 Scrapbook Layouts show the view as we were climbing over the Charleston SC area. I was trying to identify our landmarks and take aerial photos, which was not easy, considering the bumpy ride.
Again, plain and simple with no embellishments; just mattes and some patterned paper cut in 6 x 6 inch squares.
After we leveled off and things settled down a bit, I was told I could unbuckle and crawl below and forward to the nose of the aircraft.
These B-17 Scrapbook Layouts show the path I had to take, going down a square hole between the pilot and co-pilot seats, traveling along a wooden "flooring" about 10 feet long & 3 feet high on my hands and knees, then up a small step into the nose of the aircraft which was all plexiglass.
In this glassed-in nose area, I found the Navigator's desk and forward of that was the Bombadier's seat.
Shots of the Navigators chair and desk where my dad would have spread out his maps and used the stars to guide the path of the aircraft when flying at night.
Being up in the nose of the aircraft was quite scary, specially since I am afraid of heights. Talk about hanging out over everything.
I did not quite get over my fears, but took a lot of photos as I was really too scared to venture too close the glass and I knew I would want to remember the view.
I have, however, learned one reason why people love to fly. The feeling and view was spectacular.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence.
Hov'ring there I've chased the shouting wind along,
and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr.________________________________________________________________________________________________
As we circled back across Charleston Harbor and over the old Fort Sumter out in the Harbor, I tried again to sit in the Bombadier's seat. I was still scared, but I just held my camera out over the Norden Bomb Site and took a few shoots without looking. These Liberty Belle B-17 Layouts turned out better than I had hoped.
These two B-17 Scrapbook Layouts emphasize the Bomb Site with the white paper ribbons with blue and white ribbon on top in a cross pattern which one would see looking thought the site.
The embellishment tags were the same as used at the beginning of the book for the B-17 tag.
Photos on these B-17 Scrapbook Layouts of the Charleston Harbor and the new Diamond Towers of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge which joins the Charleston peninsula with the area East of the Cooper River. The Bridge has always been a stunning site from Land and Sea and now Air.
More photos of the entrance to the Charleston Harbor and the Charleston peninsula looking North at The Citadel campus and the Ashley river winding into the Inter-coastal waterway.
The shots on the right were taken from other locations on the plane, from the side and rear gun mounts.
It was starting to get rather cold up there. The windows for the guns were open and there was no insulation in the body of the plane. I can bet it really got icy at the altitudes those men had to fly and for the hours they flew, it must have been quite a miserable job.
These B-17 Scrapbook Layouts depict going further on back past the Radio Room and looking into the Tail Gunners section. The seats in the part of the Aircraft where the rest of the crew stayed were canvas sling type seats that must have been very uncomfortable for those long rides.
More close up views of the guns and ammunition boxes for these B-17 Scrapbook Layouts. One of the other passengers on the ride that day had flown in one of these during World War II. I can't imagine what he was thinking about those days.
These layouts of the Bomb Bay area complete with simulated Bombs. The area to walk through was a wooden and metal plank about 10 inches wide with rope hand-rails. It was very tricky to cross from the front to the back and my guess was that those rope hand rails were only for the passengers these days.
The last and final photos taken after we landed. Everyone who had flown in one of these in-service and those of us who had relatives who flew were asked to sign the door. I signed my dad's name and the number of missions he flew in these. When filled up with signatures, the door will be removed and placed in the museum for the 390th Bomb Wing.
I hope you enjoyed the B-17 Scrapbook with images of the B-17 Flying Fortress.
For more information on the Liberty Belle B-17 and to see where you might be lucky enough to catch a ride, check out this link to
Liberty Belle B-17 Flying Fortress
8th Air Force Museum Scrapbook
Air Force Scrapbook for Thunderbirds and Air Show Layouts
See the U. S. Navy - Blue Angels Scrapbook for more great layouts
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