World War II Birds Take Flight In Madras, Oregon

by Kimberly A. Cook                  (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Spent last week in Sisters and Madras, Oregon shopping, relaxing, digging thundereggs, and soaking in hot tubs. One fabulous exhibit we stumbled upon is the Erickson Aircraft Collection in Madras, Oregon.

Nestled in a refurbished World War II aircraft hangar at the Madras airport were more than twenty military aircraft complete with floor diapers for their oil leaks. They are still dripping oil since most of these rare birds are still flown on a regular basis.

img_6853

This B-17G is so big I could have backed up to the highway and still not get all of her in my wide angle lens. Notice the ball turret gunner “bubble” underneath. Very tight quarters.

Aircraft on display include a B-17G Bomber, P-51D Mustang, FM-2 Wildcat and even a ME-109 Messerschmitt. While wandering all around with my camera, I could not locate the Vought F4U Corsair, a favorite of my Dad’s. Found out it was in the shop for a tune up. Guess I will have to go back!

This collection started in the 1970’s by Jack Erickson and then his grandson Mike Oliver caught the airplane bug and serves as the General Manager of the Collection today. Pretty sure he might have been the one leading a tour of folks around the collection while we were there; the red Corvette parked out front a give away perhaps?

Since Madras served as a training base for B-17 pilots during World War II, it is the perfect place to host these fabulous machines. The stories of the men who flew these beauties were nicely displayed in the collection, especially since so many were local boys.

img_6870

USS Ranger magic strikes again. “Heavenly Body” is at Madras, Oregon. Priceless! 

The women were not left out either with the role they played building these machines on display. Since USS Ranger magic is everywhere, one of the photos featured the time a B-25J Mitchell flew off the USS Ranger in San Diego, CA harbor to commemorate the Doolittle Raid.

img_6873

Here she is!

Many of those Doolittle Raid pilots were drawn from the local area. Think USS Ranger was giving me a sign. If you get a chance, venture over and visit this amazing collection in Madras, Oregon.

Check them out at http://www.ericksoncollection.com

P.S. Did I mention there is an air show too? Must make another trip…..

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Veteran Stories

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s