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Approaching RAF Prestwick at the end of a 10hr transatlantic sortie a group of B17s welcome the dawn sight of the island of Arran, a beacon for Prestwick airport. With virtually no previous experience of transatlantic flight from the US to UK regular ferry flights of B17s and B24s started in 1942. Astoundingly B17 crews fresh from training assembled at Gander, Newfoundland, and set off across the Atlantic to Prestwick in what was their very first long range sortie. Initially they flew in squadron groups led by an aircraft crewed by ATC (Air Transport Command) civilian aircrew, latterly the brand new crews coped on their own.
Some 3,000 aircraft were ferried to Prestwick during WW2 with more than 50 aircraft a day coming in at the peak period in 1944. The loss rate during these flights was remarkably low at less than 1.5%.
January 26th, 2013
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