Shortly after WWII a guy named Art Lacey went to Kansas to buy a
surplus B-17. His idea was to fly it back to Oregon , jack it up in the air
and make a gas station out of it. He paid $15,000 for it. He asked which
one was his and they said take whichever you want because there were
miles of them. He didn’t know how to fly a 4-engine airplane so he read
the manual while he taxied around by himself. They said he couldn’t take
off alone so he put a mannequin in the co-pilot’s seat and off he went.
He flew around a bit to get the feel of it and when he went to land he
realized he needed a co-pilot to lower the landing gear. He crashed and
totaled his plane and another on the ground. They wrote them both off
as "wind damaged" and told him to pick out another. He talked a friend
into being his co-pilot and off they went.
They flew to Palm Springs where Lacey wrote a hot check for gas.
Then they headed for Oregon . They hit a snow storm and couldn’t find
their way, so they went down below 1,000 feet and followed the railroad
tracks. His partner sat in the nose section and would yell,"TUNNEL"
when he saw one and Lacey would climb over the mountain.
They landed safely, he made good the hot check he wrote, and they
started getting permits to move a B-17 on the state highway. The
highway department repeatedly denied his permit and fought him
tooth and nail for a long time, so late one Saturday night, he just
moved it himself. He got a $10 ticket from the police for having too
wide a load.