Diorama of 42-31777 crash near Tower

Chris French: Diorama to portray Lt Philip Zanoya’s landing incident on 2nd August 1944 at Rattlesden, Suffolk. Built in 1.72 scale, the Signal Square and Control Tower are scratch built using foam board, sand paper, match sticks, coffee stirrers, clear plastic and a few of the finer details taken from the Airfix tower kit. The B-17 is an old moulding Revell/Monogram kit that I purchased in my teens during the 90’s, partially built and then sat in my loft for 20+ years. I had to strip it all back and start again so did the best I could with such a comparative relic. The model is displayed in the 447th Bombardment Group Heritage Gallery within the former Control Tower at Rattlesden, the very location where the incident occurred.
After encountering heavy Flak over the primary oil target near occupied Paris and bombing a target of opportunity, the 447th Bombardment Group returned to Rattlesden without loss. Pilot Lt Philip Zanoya brought B-17G Flying Fortress 42-31777 in to land with damage to the hydraulic systems and a brake failure occurred upon touch down. The ship swerved off the concrete and across the grass and hit a hedge. The wheels collapsed and it came to rest on its belly metres from the Control Tower. Staff in the tower at the time were seen making a hasty exit from the building when they saw the 103 foot wide bomber coming straight at them! All involved were ok. As the saying goes ‘Any landing you can walk away from, is a good landing!’ 








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