I was on the phone with my brother yesterday and he mentioned talking to an old veteran of B-17 combat who was a docent at the Evergreen Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. The old guy told him that the oxygen systems needed to be cleared of CO2 lest it build up in the system. I had never heard this, never come across it in the hundreds of hours of research I put into this project. I knew foul odors got trapped in the oxygen system, that it could be dialed all the way to deliver pure oxygen at very high altitude, that the men took their masks with them when they left the plane. But nothing about clearing C O2.
One thing I have learned in the writing of this novel: there is always more to learn. I also learned to check things out. Memories fade, and wartime is apt to cause either exaggeration or understatement depending on who’s talking.
So I went to the source. I present here the bible of all things B-17
For those wanting information on the famous Norden, you’ll need to find the separate document that goes into detail about that super-secret device.