While chatting with the folks working on B-17 firebombers at the Mesa, Arizona, airport on a brisk winter day in 1980, someone said I needed to meet Max Biegert, the man responsible for getting the B-17F registered N17W out of a city park in Arkansas and returning it to flight as a large sprayer and air tanker. That B-17 now holds a place of honor in the Museum of Flight in Seattle.
Of Wings & Things
A general aviation airplane ahead of its time.
There’s a reason the Hamilton Metalplane reminds you of a Ford Trimotor. The original Ford 3-AT Trimotor, as well as the Hamilton aircraft, were worked on by a young aircraft designer named James McDonnell — yes, that James McDonnell.
Only one Boeing XB-15 bomber prototype was built, yet it provided the giant aircraft manufacturer with design ideas that shaped the famous B-17 and Model 314 Clipper airplanes.
The Douglas Dolphin, launched at the beginning of the Great Depression, was a niche machine that would serve airlines, business leaders and, ultimately, the military.