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First Flight: 1942

First Flight: 1942

B-25 bombers on the outdoor assembly line at North American Aviation, almost ready for their first test flight. Kansas City, Kansas. October 1942. View full size. 5x4 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer for the OWI.


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Flight plan

It's amazing, by today's standards, how small these aircraft really were.

My father loved airplanes. Back in the 1930s, he'd go out to the local grass landing strip, pay the fee and get a ride in the old "barnstorming" biplanes of the day.

When WWII came along, he wanted to join the air force.
However, he was a big man who carried a few extra pounds.

The air force refused him on the basis of his weight.
Looking at these aircraft, I can see why.

He ended up in the Navy and went "missing in action" in 1943.

Taking a Hard Look

I love how the guard is looking at the B-25 in the foreground like he had never seen one before. Maybe it was his first day on the job.

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