B-17 ball turret gunner to speak to Aero Club.




This photo shows a person inspecting a ball turret on the underside of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Persons attending the Sun Lakes Aero Club get-together November 18 will hear a presentation by Leonard Estrin, who served as a B-17 ball turret gunner during World War II


Leonard Estrin, Sun Lakes resident and Sun Lakes Aero Club (SLAC) member, will be guest speaker at the club’s gathering  November 18.  Estrin will discuss his experiences as a ball turret gunner on a B-17 bomber flying missions over Germany during World War II.

The session begins with coffee and camaraderie at 6:30 p.m., followed by Estrin’s presentation beginning at 7 p.m.  Location is the Sun Lakes Country Club Mirror Room.

The bubble-shaped ball turret was a tiny space only short people could physically fit into.  Life expectancy of ball turret gunners was less than that of other aircrew members.  Enemy fighters would prefer to attack American bombers from below in an attempt to hit the wing fuel tanks or bombs in the bomb bay.  This form of attack often resulted in the ball turret gunner being shot to pieces by cannon shell fire from a German fighter. Fortunately, Estrin survived this fate.


Now in its 17th year, SLAC sponsors programs the third Monday of each month November through April at the Sun Lakes Country Club. The programs are open to all Sun Lakes residents and others interested in aviation.  More information on the club is available from Bob Walch, 895-8869 or Gary Vacin, 298-7017, or at the club’s web site, www.sunlakesaeroclub.org.