General Question

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

How many P-38s, P-40s, B-17s, B-24s, and B-29s are left that fly?

Asked by xxporkxsodaxx (1386points) July 30th, 2008

Just something that’s interesting to know.

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14 Answers

AstroChuck's avatar

I don’t know but there are plenty of DC-3s still around.

XCNuse's avatar

there might be a list somewhere who knows, but there are a LOT more than you’d imagine.

I just went to a cool museum some guy owns out here in Virginia and they fly the airplanes all the time, wrecked a Russian Yak 3 there yesterday, landing gear collapsed.

Hell a B-17 just completed a flight it never made originally to England like a month ago or less, there are probably somewhere in the range of 20 B-17s that are still in flying condition if not more than that. And probably well over 100 stuck in museums..

kevbo's avatar

I’ll use your question as a platform to brag about my SNJ-4 Texan flight. Awesome.

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

If you don’t want to say that mouthful, you can say T-6 Texan. And I sure did enjoy my Ford Tri-Motor flight, compared to the B-17’s ride cost(about $300+) the Ford Tri-Motor($55) is better. But Yaks are pretty common, there were quite a few at the Oshkosh air show this year, but I wish I was able to tell the difference between the Chinese and Russian Yaks.

kevbo's avatar

Wow. I’d never seen the tri-motor before. Interesting design. I’m sure that was a good time, and I’m sure the B-17 isn’t built for comfort. ;-)

I got to do some aerobatics with my flight, which was totally sweet. It really gave me an appreciation for how demanding it would be to being in a dogfight. (I watch that show whenever a new episode is on, by the way.) It’s obvious from being up there that you have to know everything like the back of your hand and then some.

Seesul's avatar

Where did you ride in a tri-motor? Was it marked (i.e. airline)?

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

@kevbo, Tell me about it, like the people who did that more than 60 years ago had so much courage, and them coming out of the fight makes the twice as good! And speaking of aerobatics, on the way home we did a barrel roll in a Beechcraft Bonanza V36B, my grandfather told me to put my book on the dashboard and just cranked the throttle and pushed in the yolk, popped it up at 180 knots and threw the yolk over to the side. The crazy part is the book didn’t move at all, even though I know why it’s still pretty cool. with a small side note we did that with 100 gallon tip tanks.

@Seesul, I was in Oshkosh, WI and it was marked, but I don’t think it was a legitimate airline now or ever, it was something like “Air Transport Inc.” and there was some more that I didn’t remember. This one didn’t have original everything though, but there were one or two more at the air show that did.

Poser's avatar

The T-6 was the most awesome a/c I’ve ever had the pleasure of flying.

kevbo's avatar

@xxporxxsodaxx, that’s a sweet story. Nice that you have some aviation blood in your family.

breedmitch's avatar

From The Lost Squadron by David Hayes:
“Despite its distinguished record, few P-38’s survived the end of the war…Many Lightnings were broken up overseas rather than be transported back to the U.S. for disposal. Today, the P-38 Lightning is a rare species of warbird. By the 1980’s, only half a dozen in flying condition remained.”

The Lost Squadron Is a wonderful book about six P-38 Lightnings and two B-17 Flying Fortress bombers that were forced to crash land on the coast of Greenland, July 15th, 1942. The pilots and crew were rescued in a few days, but the planes had to be left behind. Eventually the planes were burried under 260 feet of ice and snow.
Because of the rarity of the P-38, an expedition was formed to see if one of the planes could be salvaged and restored. 50 years later, “ice chimneys” were melted down to the planes and, piece by piece, most of a Lightning was brought up.
After restoration in Middlesboro, Kentucky Glacier Girl is back in flying condition and is now part of a Texas Air History Museum.

My paternal grandfather was the co-pilot of one of the 2 B-17’s that also crash landed with Glacier Girl

Seesul's avatar

The reason that I asked about the tri-motor markings was that I knew American had one that they used for company promotions. I’m trying to remember if it was marked American Airlines, though, as the company was called several names before that. I’d have to go through my stuff and look it up.

Of all of the old planes, I’d love to go up on a tri-motor. When AA first introduced jets into San Diego, my dad was the manager there. He was really into aviation history and made a big deal out of it, because he realized how historic it was. CR Smith, the pres and founder, had the company tri-motor flown in for the occasion and took many of the employees for a ride. My mom (one of their first stewardesses) and my dad got to go up. I was so envious. My mom took her movie camera and filmed the flight over SAN, so at least I got to go up vicariously. it was torture waiting to finally fly on a jet. I remember when I my mom first flew on one, her vivid description of how it different from the turbo-props and the DC-2 and 3’s. It seemed like an eternity before I got to take a flight on one.

It wasn’t until years later that it sunk in how early my mom and dad were in commercial aviation. I toured Harrah’s car museum before they broke it up, and was amazed to see the interior of the plane that proceeded the models she flew on. The seats were wicker!

She had to be an RN to work on board. They would get the weather by radio contact with the weather stations as they flew over them. She was specially trained to fly the sleepers. They were not allowed to serve liquor on board, but passed out sample packs of cigarettes.

When she first applied, she had never even take a flight. She had just seen mail planes flying over the farm that she grew up on, along with the occasional barnstormer.

Because of both of them, vacations usually included aviation museums all over the world, wherever they could find them. Don’t know if it is still there or not, but the most memorable was one in a barn in New Zealand.

Great discussion, here, I’m thoroughly enjoying your adventures.

boffin's avatar

The Chino Air Museum…All of the first line planes are air worthy.. Not sure if they have a web-site. The Confederate Air Force has a number of air worthy fighters and bombers that make regular air show rounds. Try a quick google search for more info on show appearances.

XCNuse's avatar

T-6 is the greatest in the world, my dad sold his last year and the guy that bought it was talking to my dad the other day and wants me to do the paint design for it, but he wants it to be purple with yellow stripes…

he is an idiot because it is the only T-6 in the world with Military paint, not Navy nor Army (Air Corps), but Military.

Eskelvar's avatar

You may find a lot of your answers for the quantities of old WWII aircraft that are still airworthy or flying at

It is very informative.

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