Categories: COMMENTARY



The name Dark Horse Flyer has an interesting genesis.  The band started as “Dark Horse”, inspired by how it evokes “come-from-behind” success.  Soon though, they found that the name has been used by some other bands and record labels.  They wondered if they could modify it somehow.

Brainstorming on the band’s interest and respect in “the greatest generation”, they started focusing on aviation-related imagery and wording.  They then discovered that there was a B-17 Bomber in World War II called “Dark Horse”.  The “Dark Horse” was piloted on several missions by 1Lt. Carl Fyler.  1Lt. Fyler was the pilot or co-pilot on other B-17 Bombers, such as Red Ass and Alley Oop. 1Lt. Fyler  (later promoted to Captain during his POW term and then Major 15 years after the war) was also the pilot of “Dark Horse” on its final bombing mission on 11/29/43 when it was shot down over Germany.  1Lt. Fyler and his crew, after heroic efforts from all crew members (all but one member were wounded immediately), managed to escape the plane while it was destroyed by enemy shelling, parachuting to the ground only to be captured or killed by German troops.  Four crew members sacrificed their lives that day. 1Lt. Fyler was held as a prisoner of war for 510 days before being returned to America. 1LT Carl Fyler and all the crew of “Fyler’s Dark Horse” were truly part of America’s Greatest Generation of soldiers that gave so much of themselves for the freedom of people throughout the world!

Once “Fyler’s Dark Horse” story unfolded before the band’s eyes…..they changed a couple of letters and the position of one word and voila….. Dark Horse Flyer became a reality once again!

For the more complete story visit this site:


B-17F #42-5854 Alley Oop 360BS (PU-C)
(photo: August 1943)

(Back L-R) S/Sgt George C. Fisher (RWG)(POW-WIA-Repr)(14), S/Sgt Bill J. Addison (E)(POW)(8),
2Lt Steve M. Gibson (B)(*)(7), 1Lt Paul S. Tippet (CP)(KIA)(4), 1Lt Carl J. Fyler (P)(POW)(1)

(Front L-R) S/Sgt Joseph R. Sawicki (TG)(KIA)(5), S/Sgt Gather B. Crowder (R)(*)(9),
S/Sgt Ray D. Ford (BT)(KIA)(10), S/Sgt Martin G. Stachowiak (LWG)(POW)(12)

* Crewman completed his 25 mission combat tour and returned to the USA

Leave A Comment

  1. Ann Norlin June 26, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    My name is Ann Norlin, and I am the co-author of 11-11: The Carl Fyler Story. It is a biographical account of the life of Carl Fyler, whom I met through church. Below is the Amazon link–you will see that the plane on the cover is the Dark Horse. I am fascinated that there is a band whose name is based on this, and I am sure Carl would be too!

    • DHF Admin June 26, 2014 at 10:03 pm

      Thanks Ann, I’ll pass along your comment to the band!

  2. John Sloan July 3, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Hello Ms. Norlin,

    My name is John Sloan, I am a 12 generation grandson of Lt. Walter Fyler, founding member of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. My great grandmother and Carl Fyler’s father were brother and sister. I just want to thank you for writing a book on his life. I did not realize we are related until today. I am humbled by this finding. If you retain anymore data on Carl, his family, I would greatly appreciate if you would be in position to share it. My email is . Regards.

  3. Susan kinzer December 27, 2016 at 2:06 am

    My husbands father was George Chester Fisher. He was a right waist gunner on the Dark Horse. He was pushed out of the B-17 by Joseph Sawicki. He was wounded and taken as a POW He was later repartited because of the severity of his injuries.

    • FlyerAfficianado December 27, 2016 at 5:43 am

      Thanks Susan, I’m passing along your comment to the band.

    • Donald Mularz December 27, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      Thanks for sharing that with us this holiday season, the whole story of that flight is a powerful one and a perfect example of uncounted and soon to be lost stories, many never told. We were able to take a short flight on the Collings Foundation B17 a few years ago, and even moving around in the aircraft in our street clothes was a challenge, hard to imagine what it was like at altitude, half frozen for hours in that heavy gear, and being shot at.

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