When I was young (in the mid-60s), someone had a flying P38 based at a local airport. Seeing it fly over every so often was really a thrill. I don’t think I appreciated it fully until after it wasn’t there any more. I’m not sure what that extra plumbing is on the file photo plane....extra fuel tanks?
I hear you. Back in the '90s I was working in Macon, GA when a B-17 from the Confederate Air Force (Sentimental Journey) landed at their airport.
As a contractor, I could take time off to visit the craft and took a tour through the insides (think of walking through a small round culvert).
Later that day I was in a conference when I heard a familiar drone of engines. I have watched those WWII air battle movies so often I immediately recognized the plane. "That's a B-17!" I shouted and ran outside to see her coming over the plant at about 500 feet. I took off my cap and waved it just to show my appreciation. The pilot saw me and waggled his wings - I damned near wet myself. Back at the conference I got some strange looks and I just blew them off - the fools missed a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
It amazes me to think that the same guy (Kelly Johnson) who led the design team for the P-38 in the lead up to WWII would also have a hand in the SR-71. The man’s genius seemed to be limitless...