>At the end of September the Callanan Foundation's air group flew in to the
>Schenectady NY airport. The group includes a B-25, a B-17 and what is said
>to be the world's only flyable B-24 Liberator. Twelve bucks got you thru
>the gate to the flight line, where you could walk around, and through, the
>planes. They were selling rides on the planes at around $400 for 30
>minutes, but I thought that was a little steep. They did announce that the
>B-24 costs $3800/hour to fly. Late in the afternoon they began shooing
>people back out the gate, and getting ready to fly those who had signed up
>during the day. The B-17 loaded up and taxied out, then a guy walked along
>the fence announcing that there was space available on the B-25. Aww
>Man...$400....But the old question: If not now, when? So I went for it. The
>guy said to hustle because they were ready to board. So I jogged out, no
>waiver, no release, no money, no nothing, and a dead bttery in the camera.
>Up the bomb bay ladder to a seat right behind the flight deck. We got a
>quick briefing on what and what not to do, and they strongly advised using
>the hearing protectors, which they emphasized by starting the engines. It
>was loud enough taxiing out, but during takeoff the noise was
>unbelieveable, at least 140 db. Our seats were exactly in line with the
>propellors. We got to crawl thru a tunnel under the flight deck to the
>bombardier's station in the nose. Left, front, right and overhead is all
>plexiglas, so you can see everywhere. But no pictures. I passed the plastic
>after we got back. It tuns out that the fare is deductible, as the
>Foundation is a charity.
Sounds like you made the right call, Pete! Great story.
This ride selling used to be a bone of contention between the FAA and groups
that show these old warbirds. Maybe it's resolved, I don't know.
These ships were not built to FAA specs because they were built for the
military. So they can't operate in any Standard Category. They can, however,
operate in Special Categories like Restricted or Exhibition. But these
categories have operating limitations. One is that they can't carry
passengers for hire.
The FAA says to the Foundation, "You're carrying passengers for hire and are
The operators say, "We're are not selling rides, we are giving a free ride
to someone who donated $400 to the Foundation."
And back and forth. Probably the FAA has decided to let the foundations
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