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Bombs Away! Skydivers Jump From A Perfectly Good B-17


Members of a Chicago skydiving club experienced a unique thrill by exiting through the bomb bay of a B-17 Flying Fortress.

The B-17 Flying Fortress was one of the crucial components to the Allies’ victory in World War II. The B-17 was rugged enough to survive punishment as the flight groups flew bombing missions over Europe.

In the early days of daylight bombing, the Fortresses flew over Germany without fighter escorts and had to survive the onslaught of flack and enemy fighters on the inbound and outbound portions of the missions.

Groups like the Collings Foundation Wings of Freedom have restored WWII-era aircraft. In this video, a B-17 was used to provide members of the Chicagoland Skydiving Center a unique parachute experience.

This “bombing run” allowed the sky divers to exit the B-17 through the bomb bay. Plus, the parachutists were able to experience what it was like for the airmen who flew the Flying Fortress. We would call that a double dip.

By the way, the background song for this video is “Blood Upon The Risers,” a marching song used by American paratroopers during training. Based on the song “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” the refrain is “Gory, Gory, What A Helluva Way To Die.”

We assume the song was added in post-production for this video. These aren’t the sort of lyrics a sky diver wants to hear as he hurtles himself out of a perfectly good airplane. (But if somehow this song WAS played on the B-17 mission, it’s highly doubtful anyone would have heard it over the roar of the four engines.

And by the way, part two: The second half of the video features the song “We’ll Meet Again.” It was one of the favorite songs of WWII because of its optimistic message.

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Written by Wendell Barnhouse

Wendell Barnhouse is a veteran journalist with over 40 years of experience as a writer and an editor. For the last 30 years, he wrote about college sports but he has had an interest and curiosity about aviation since he was in grade school.

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