My flight in Dad's World War II B-24 Liberator - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

My flight in Dad's World War II B-24 Liberator

Posted: Updated:
  • More Local NewsLocalMore>>

  • Lafayette Police officers are searching for a hit and run suspect

    Lafayette Police officers are searching for a hit and run suspect

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:39 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:39:02 GMT
    The Lafayette Police department investigators are on the hunt for a truck driver who hit a pedestrian early Sunday morning. More >>
    The Lafayette Police department investigators are on the hunt for a truck driver who hit a pedestrian early Sunday morning. More >>
  • Boil Advisory for parts of Southwest Allen Parish

    Boil Advisory for parts of Southwest Allen Parish

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:32 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:32:59 GMT
    The Southwest Allen Parish Water District # 2 boil advisoryMore >>
    The Southwest Allen Parish Water District # 2 boil advisoryMore >>
  • Clean water audit discussed in Beauregard Parish

    Clean water audit discussed in Beauregard Parish

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 12:56 AM EDT2014-09-16 04:56:31 GMT
    A public discussion of a clean water audit lasted almost an hour and a half in Beauregard Parish Waterworks District 3 Monday night.A lawsuit settlement between an environmental group and a parish waterworks district resulted in a third party audit.The man who is leading the audit is environmental scientist David Booth. He fielded a variety of questions ranging from the audit's timeline to what they were looking for in the water."It's good to have the public involved in the process, and we're...More >>
    A public discussion of a clean water audit lasted almost an hour and a half in Beauregard Parish Waterworks District 3 Monday night.A lawsuit settlement between an environmental group and a parish waterworks district resulted in a third party audit.The man who is leading the audit is environmental scientist David Booth. He fielded a variety of questions ranging from the audit's timeline to what they were looking for in the water."It's good to have the public involved in the process, and we're...More >>

Growing up, the B-24 Liberator bomber was a brand name in the Bridges household. A major player in World War II and not quite as famous as the B-17, the Liberator was the plane my dad Clifton Bridges piloted. 

"The B-24 Liberator was the most produced Ally airplane in World War II," said Jim "Pappy" Goolsby, pilot for Wings for Freedom, which is funded by the non-profit Collings Foundation and currently has several vintage planes on display at Vision Aviation at Lake Charles Regional Airport. "They built 18,600 of them. They were coming off the production line one every 55 minutes. They were made by women."

On Monday, I was offered a ride on my dad's plane from New Orleans Lakefront Airport to Lake Charles. Civil Air Patrol member Austin Dronet was on board with me.

"There was something new every time you went to each part of the aircraft," Dronet said. "You're flying over different parts of the scenery and it just gives it a different feel every time you looked out there."

While in flight and watching Goolsby, I wondered what my dad would think of this flight.

"Probably what he would remember more than anything was the people he worked with," said Goolsby. "The crews were very close. Even today when you talk to World War II vets, they know what happened to their buddies, all their crew members and whether they're still around or not.  They still get together." 

Flying an altitude of about 1,500 feet, there was plenty to see both inside and outside the plane.  The rear and lower turrets, the waist gunner positions and the Bombardiers compartment with Norton bomb site. After the flight, Austin was still in awe of the B-24.

"Just the role it played I think it just stands out as set apart," said Doucet. 

Knowing that my dad took part in this chapter of American history makes him a hero in my book.  The Wings of Freedom planes will be on display through noon Wednesday.  For information, go to http://www.collingsfoundation.org/cf_schedule-wof.htm

Copyright KPLC 2014.  All rights reserved

Powered by WorldNow