I for one was excited about the prospect of the Blue Angels and a Billings Air Show coming to town. My favorite channel that I watch now to escape all of the BS on tv these days is the Smithsonian Channel. Last night they had a special on the B-29 Superfortress. What an amazing plane. According to the special, it took quite a while to work the bugs out. They knew in 1939 that they would need a plane capable of flying far distances to reach Japan. The B-29 had 4 2200 horsepower engines, could fly at 32000 feet, and at 365 mph it made it hard for fighter plane s to even catch it. If they did, they were in trouble.

With its computer-controlled 50 caliber gun turrets, it could shoot anything out of the sky. Plus, with its 20,000-pound payload and 5500-mile range, it was a fortress that no country could match. Since it wasn't used until 1944 they only produced about 4000 of them. The main workhorse up until then was the B 24 Liberator. They made 18000 of them but it only had a range of 1600 miles and a much smaller payload. Before that the famous B17 could fly higher but much slower and was vulnerable to enemy planes.

Most of these planes had crews of 10. The B-17 had one good thing going for it: you could shoot the crap out of it and it could fly wounded back to the strip. Our superior air power definitely was the difference during the war or we would all be speaking a different language right now. We lost over 50,000 men in those bombers and most were younger than 25, but if it wasn't for their sacrifice we wouldn't have air shows to go to.

I still get chills when I see the footage of all those great planes and men and the courage and bravery they had during those tumultuous times. I hope the bombers come for the airshow, if so I'll be there to pay my respects. See ya tomorrow at 5.

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