Flying over Utah in the
belly of a B-24 Liberator.

It’s the summer of 2003 and I’m crouched inside the cramped metal belly of an American warbird built over sixty years ago. Even though it’s the middle of July, my teeth are rattling – not from the temperature, but from the vibration produced by four supercharged Pratt & Whitney R1830 engines, roaring mechanized beasts of iron and oil and God knows what else that’s keeping this 45,000 pound monster aloft.

The wind whips across my face – there’s no glass in the window I’m hunkered next to, just a 50-caliber machine gun (it doesn’t work, but I’m still afraid of it). I’ve got a fantastic birds eye view of a multimillion-dollar ski resort (we’re doing circles above the Wasatch mountain range in Utah, home to “The Best Snow On Earth”).

Welcome aboard the only restored and operational B-24 bomber in the entire world.

Once the most produced Allied aircraft of all time (by 1943, American factories were churning ‘em out at the rate of one an hour on the largest assembly line on Earth), today there are only a handful of B-24s left. Most of them are grounded, sitting in museums, their flying days a distant memory of the past. But the Collings Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to the restoration and operation of historic aircraft, maintains their B-24 as a “living artifact.” Every year, crews from the Foundation fly the warbird to air shows across the country, offering the public a unique opportunity to pay tribute to those who served and sacrificed during the Second World War.

The efforts of the Collings Foundation have really paid off. I love museums, and I’ve visited every military exhibit in every city I’ve ever been in, but short of interviewing actual veterans, I’ve never felt closer to the history of World War II than while flying on their fully restored B-24.

It’s a feeling I’m trying to capture with my film ARTICLES OF WAR, an animated story about a B-24 pilot writing home to his father. It’s a film I’ve wanted make for years, and the reason I climbed onboard a fully operational warbird in the first place. Or perhaps it’s the other way around – maybe I’ve always wanted to feel what it’s like to fly on a B-24, and making this film is the perfect excuse... either way, it’s an experience I’ll never forget.

The world's only restored and operational B-24 on the runway in Heber City, Utah.

I’ve admired B-24 bombers since I was a little kid, long before I discovered the significant role the aircraft played in the Allied victory of World War II. The B-24 is often overshadowed by the always-popular B-17 “Flying Fortress,” but although I admire the B-17, I’m a complete freak for the B-24. In this humble artist’s opinion, it’s just one of the coolest airplane of all time (I suppose I’m a sucker for the unique twin tail and rudder assembly that gives the B-24 such a distinctive profile).

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