Friday, January 27, 2012

Pima Air and Space Museum

Last week I finished a very good book -- "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption," by Laura Hillenbrand. It’s the story of Louie Zamperini, a self-described kid thug who later became an Olympic runner and probably would have been the first man to break the four minute mile -- if World War II had not gotten in the way.  Louie (who is still alive) was a bombardier whose plane went down while on a search mission. 
Today Jim and I visited the Pima Air and Space Museum. I have  ambivalent feelings about most things military; I want to follow the Rodney King’s “Can’t we all just get along" statement but realize that's naive .   And while I’m extremely grateful to anyone who served in the military, all the war machines bother me.
Which brings me back to Louie Zamperini and the Pima Air and Space Museum:  One of the planes on display was the B-24 bomber, the plane Louie was on when it went down during a search mission over the Pacific.  Seeing the type of airplane that started Louie’s story of survival was the highlight of the museum for me.

Louie Zamperini and his friend and captain, Russell Allen Phillips, flew in two B-24 bombers (similar to the one above).  The first one was christened "Superman."  Their second plane (which went down) was the "Green Hornet."
Another shot of a B-24.  The planes flew so close to the enemy that crews could see each other's faces. Ten people were in the crew; above you can see a dummy representing one of the two gunners who were on either side of the plane just behind the wing.
In "Unbroken," author Hillenbrand quotes a pilot as saying flying a B-24 was like "sitting on the front porch and flying the house."  Crews also called the planes flying boxcars and were not impressed by the planes' looks.  
Jim below the B-24.
Above and below are photos of the results of an art project currently on display at the PimaAir Museum:  planes in the "boneyard" or storage area being used as canvases by artists.

And, a pigeon making its home in the former home of an engine.

No comments:

Post a Comment