I had admired her from a distance, lusting after her and her sisters through various photographs I had seen over the years. Coming face to face with her was a defining moment, though and I believe it was then that the feelings of lust became the beginning stirrings of love in my heart.
In thinking about that moment, I believe that the erotic scent hit my nostrils before my eyes could gaze upon her and seductive curves.
There she was, right in front of me: an operational B17 Flying Fortress named “Chuckie”.
Of the 12,726 B17’s manufactured between 1935 and 1945, only twelve have been lovingly restored to be in the condition to fly.
The smell that sent my olfactory glands into a twitter was the combined scent of oil, high octane aviation fuel and waxed aluminum….climbing inside the nose of the plane and putting myself into the position of the bombardier was exciting…and then moving into the cockpit where the navigator, pilot and flight engineer worked was close to orgasmic.
When it gets down to it, I’ve always loved history. The lives of Henry the VIII and Abraham Lincoln were equally fascinating to me, but nothing held my interest like the stories of World War II. After my divorce, I realized I need to cultivate some new interests. My love of history soon fell prey to the seduction of the Warbirds of the 1940’s turned to lust and a bit of an obsession.
Yes, I said the “o” word: obsession, but perhaps a better word would be passion.
My exploration into the aviation of World War II was something I could really sink my teeth into. I discovered Aviation Museums where the stories I read about suddenly became something real to me as I found these remaining aviation marvels just waiting for me to connect with – and admire – them.
With friends, I began to plan weekend getaways centering around the chance to gaze upon the polished aluminum and bubble canopy of a P51D Mustang or khaki painted B25 Mitchell.
Nothing spoke to me, though, like the sheer power of a B17.
The best collection of planes I had the chance to gaze upon was in Polk City, Florida at the Fantasy of Flight museum.
During that visit, I realized that all the other women on the tour were tolerating the trip because their husbands wanted to visit while I was drinking in every moment. Part way through the behind the scenes tour, I realized that some of the men were watching me more than they were listening to tour guide.
I couldn’t tell if the men on the tour were watching me because the level of my breathing, flush faced and dilated eyes reminded them of a woman in an orgasmic state, if they were staring at my cleavage, or if it was the shock that I knew the difference between a Rolls Royce and a Pratt & Whitney engine.
Amused at their distraction, I soon forgot them. I became lost in my lust for polished aluminum, camouflage paint, and the seductive sweet spot where the wing merged with the fuselage.
In my obsession….er…..research….I learned that those old engines have to constantly drip oil to be lubricated enough to work. Dry engines can be the death of a vintage engine just as much as dry cuticles can be the end of a successful career in hand modeling.
I still recall that first visit to Chuckie seven years ago on a hot Texas day. All four of the beautiful engines were dripping oil into bright yellow barrels, which told me that the engines were functioning. I could actually run my hands along the polished aluminum and get a close-up look at the repaired bullet holes.
I’ve been lucky in my quest to connect with Warbirds over the years.
JB has a deep love for aviation history and it isn’t unusual for us to pop into a tiny museum that houses one plane or spend the day immersed in history we can (almost) touch.
And though I’ve visited with hundreds of planes, I’ll always remember the enticing scent of airplane wax, oil and aviation fuel on that hot summer day.
The joy on the day I met Chuckie.
Photos all by author: #1 – Chuckie in 2007, Me in Florida with a P51 Mustang in 2007, Chuckie in 2010, JB in Florida at a roadside museum in 2015
About the Author – Debra Smouse
My truth? In order to live life the way you were meant to, you must fall in love with the day-to-day activity of living.
I spend my days writing and working with people who want to change the world, beginning with themselves.
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A life coach and writer, me and my Gypsy Soul have stopped their constant roaming and have settled down in Dayton, OH where I share life’s adventures with the Man of My Dreams.
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