The Mighty Eighth (2014)

A clip from The Mighty Eighth showing what hell it must have been flying on a B-17 mission over Germany during WWII:

One obvious failing, probably mentioned before, is that military aircraft cabins are louder than that today, and were much louder then. I usually wore earplugs on the P-3. A B-17 had to be a lot worse. I don’t know what the filmmakers could have done to make it more realistic without making a movie unwatchable, which is why this is a common failing.

While watching, keep in mind that the crewmembers weren’t just along for the ride. They had to work in this environment — sometimes doing math with slide-rules.

And yes, I came across this while doing research. (YouTube has WWII training videos, too.) The writing continues….


Back when I was in the Navy, flying either to or from “on station,” and having gotten tired of the engine noise, I went up to the cockpit and jokingly asked them to turn the volume down. The flight engineer grinned and turned a knob marked “synchronizer.” I was floored because it actually got noticeably quieter. It turns out that this controls the synchronization of the engines. It was stunning and funny, but it wasn’t really of any help. All it did was move the center of the noise further away from the cockpit, probably making it even worse by my seat, and he had to adjust it again anyway.

Still, it’s a lesson not to assume anything.