Boeing B-17G Flyingfortress (USA)

Boeing B-17G Flyingfortress at Castle Air Museum, military aircraft museum.


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United States
Boeing Airplane Company
Model 299
10 Crew
4 - 1,200 hp Wright-Cyclone R-1820-97 radial engines
287 mph
35,600 ft.
2,800 mi.  
Empty: 36,135 lbs.
Maximum: 64,500 lbs.
103 ft. 9 in.
74 ft. 4 in.
19 ft. 1 in.
13 - .50 cal. machine guns and 6,000 lbs of bombs
$238,329.00 USD (at the time of manufacture)
8,680 G-models
None. Few in private, flyable condition.

Probably Boeing's most famous bomber, the B-17 flew mostly out of England, equipping 26 of the 40 bombardment groups of the 8th Air Force. Six B-17 groups were part of 21 groups of the 15th Air Force, which bombed targets in Germany, Austria, Romania and the Balkans from bases in Italy. It will be forever associated with the Allied effort to defeat Nazi Germany. Losses were very heavy in the early months of the bombing campaign against German targets. The heroics of many B-17 crews are legendary. The advent of the long-range fighter escort and a change in fighter tactics reduced the loss rate to a level deemed "acceptable". B-17's also served in the Pacific and Far East in the early days of World War II, but were soon phased out in favor of the long range B-24.

The original intent for the B-17 was the protection of the U.S. mainland from invasion fleets, hence the name Flying Fortress. The first B-17 flew in 1935 as the Boeing Model 299, but the program suffered due to a crash of the prototype aircraft in October 1935. B-17s entered military service prior to World War II, but the entry of America into the War presented a need for aircraft in a hurry. In all, 8,680 B-17G models were built. Total B-17 models built during the War, was 12,731. They were built by Boeing in Seattle, Douglas Aircraft Co. in Long Beach, CA and Vega Aircraft Corp. in Burbank, CA.

Boeing B-17G Flyingfortress tail gun at Castle Air Museum, military aircraft museum in Atwater, California.

The RCAF held six Flying Fortresses on strength from 6 December, 1943 to 27 December, 1946, three being Mk. II Model 299-Os (or B-17Es), and three were Model 299-Ps (or B-17Fs). All six belonged to 168 Heavy Transport Squadron which operated out of RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario and were tasked to fly mail to Canadian troops serving in Europe. B-17 #9204 was severely damaged at Rockcliffe on 17 September, 1944 and was never repaired, but it had contributed to the squadron's overall total of 636 trans-Atlantic mail flights (of which 240 were flown by the B-17s); 26,417 flying hours; 2,245,269 pounds of mail from Canada to U.K.; and 8,977,600 pounds from U.K. to the continent.