Saturday, June 09, 2012

B-17 Aircraft

This past week I had the opportunity to photograph a B-17 “Flying Fortress” on the ground and in flight.  This aircraft made its maiden flight on July 28, 1935 and at the time and it was the world’s largest landplane.

B-17 in flight
 Robert Morgan, in an article in the June 2012 issue of AOPA Pilot Magazine, pilot of the famed Memphis Bell – the first Eighth Air Force B-17 to complete 25 missions proudly said, “Forts came home with half their tail sections gone, wings shot almost completely off, noses shot away, massive holes in their sides – but they came back.  No other airplane had a greater reputation for strength and reliability than the Flying Fortress.”

B-17 Taxing out for takeoff
 The Flying Fortress carried 10 courageous young men, and the aircraft commander had as few as 250 hours of total flight time.  The bomber crews’ goal was to reach and destroy strategic targets and, if possible, to return home and try again.

The Norton Bomb Sight can be seen in the nose.  This was a top secret instrument druing WW II
 When production ended in 1945, Boeing, Douglas, and Vega had built 12,731 Flying Fortresses.  Peak production occurred during April 1944, when 19 aircraft per day rolled off the assembly lines. It is interesting to note that 67 years after World War II there are only 11 airworthy B-17’s in the world, two in Europe and nine in America.

Engines Running
Here is a thought for you.  The B-17 carries a total of 3,600 gallons of fuel and 37 gallons of oil.  Now if aviation gas cost $5.00 a gallon the cost to fill up a B-17 is $18,000.00.

Front Office B-17
I have read somewhere there was a loss of 4,735 B-17 aircraft and with a crew of 10 that accounts for   47,350 crew members during WW II.

 I would like to thank AOPA Pilot Magazine for the above information.

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