As a relatively young pilot, I feel privileged to have done a lot of really amazingly cool things. I’ve flown the beaches of Florida, cruised over the endless cornfields of Illinois, and zipped up and down the Chicago skyline to admire the view. I’ve taken friends flying and tried to spark an interest in aviation among my peers. I’ve landed and taxied off to have an F-16 blast off behind me. I’ve been to many airshows, and I’ve been lucky enough to get into a few control towers and radar rooms.
But one of the coolest things I’ve ever gotten to do is to land at the same airport as a B-17.
The Lakeland airport (KLAL) was hosting a squadron of Warbirds on an historical tour. Among their number were a P-51C, A B-17, and a B-24 Liberator. I was given a straight-in approach, landed, and taxied to the ramp…where I was marshaled up practicallywarbirds area. The B-24 was maybe 75 yards from my nose, with P-51 parked next to it; the B-17 just to the left of my nose maybe 50 yards away. Maybe it doesn’t sound like much, but to me it was just the coolest. Truly a memorable experience.