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B-17 Flying Fortress

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In 1939, scarcely two decades into the aftermath of the First World War, a new war broke loose when the Germans invaded Poland on 1 September. What began as a localised conflict eventually spread to the rest of the world, culminating in a bloodbath as war swept relentlessly through Europe and Asia. Whole cities crumbled, and the lives of millions were claimed, sending repercussions surging through the rest of the world.

In Europe, battles raged overhead as both Axis and Allies struggled for supremacy of the air. Aircraft of various forms were sent – fighters to strafe buildings and combat enemy airplanes, carriers to convey paratroopers and bombers to take out whole installations and cities.

Because of the straits and the distance separating Britain from the rest of Europe, bigger, more durable bombers that could fly longer missions and penetrate deeper into enemy territory without dependence on fighter escort were needed. The B-17 (nicknamed the 'Flying Fortress') was one of the most successful of these.


Without the B-17, we might have lost the war.
- General Carl A Spaatz

The B-17 was in fact born several years before the war when, in 1934, the Boeing Aircraft Company of Seattle, Washington began construction of a four-engine heavy bomber known as the Boeing Model 299. The first of its kind made its maiden flight on 28 July, 1935, and 13 of these planes (designated the 'Y1B-17') were delivered to the US Army Air Corps (USAAC) between January 11 and 4 August, 1937. President Roosevelt, who was shrewd enough to realise that America would ultimately be unable to avoid involvement in Europe's war, ensured that orders were swiftly placed with Boeing for the production of these bombers. 39 of the improved B-17Bs were delivered to USAAC at the advent of war, followed by 38 B-17Cs and 42 B-17Ds.

The capability of the B-17 as a rugged, durable bomber was quickly noticed – and just as quickly placed into action. The B-17 was about the biggest, most modern aircraft the United States Air Force had to offer. There was not a Second World War combat zone that the B-17 could not fight efficiently in, not a target it could not devastate. It quickly became the prime aircraft for daylight strategic bombing of German industrial targets, earning the nickname 'Flying Fortress' from a Seattle reporter, highlighting its incredible defensive firepower and durability. Boeing liked the name, and registered it as a trademark.

A total of 12,731 B-17s were produced between 1935 and May 1945. Improvements were made over this 10-year production period, refining the bomber to the three deadliest models that dominated the skies of Europe: the B-17E, B-17F and B-17G. By the end of the war, the aircraft production giants Vega and Douglas were led by Boeing as a grand total of 3,405 B-17Fs and 8,680 B-17Gs rolled off the production line. A total of 108 squadrons of the 8th Air Force in Britain and 20 squadrons of the 15th Air Force in Italy were equipped by Boeing, who had resources enough to supply 200 additional planes to the Royal Air Force.

However, the advance of technology after the Second World War rendered the B-17 obsolete in a matter of years. While jet planes ruled the skies and production lines, most of the Second World War B-17s were reduced to scrap metal, used in Air Force research or disposed of in the surplus market. Today, less than 100 of them still exist, and only a handful of these can still take to the air.

Specifications and development

The first B-17 to take to the air was powered by four 930hp Wright Cyclone RF-1820-F65 9-cylinder radial motors, reached a maximum speed of 256mph (412 kilometres per hour) at 14,000 feet (4,300m) and could deliver a payload of up to 2,000lb (900kg) of bombs. The radio navigation equipment consisted of single radio direction finders on which the aircraft homed in. It had five .30-calibre machine guns located in the nose, mid-upper, ventral and waist sections of the plane, and its gunsight was no more than a simple ring-and-bead type, which meant that accuracy depended on the gunner's ability to calculate deflections. In short, it was a far cry from what the B-17 would end up becoming.

Each new model of the B-17 was an improvement on the last. The first three models never really made it into combat, overshadowed by their successors. The B-17E, the first fighting flying fortress, had a distinctive large tail fin and much improved firepower. 512 of these bombers were built before attention was concerned on building the first truly battle-ready Flying Fortress, the B-17F. This was to be the first warplane to fly into the heart of Europe in broad daylight without escorts.

By the time the B-17G rolled off the production line, the B-17 had been refined and improved as a war machine. Browning .50-calibre machine guns replaced the .30s, and reflector gunsights took the place of the ring-and-beads, which removed the light deflection problem. Powered gun turrets that could rotate 360 degrees were mounted both at the top of the bomber and underneath, where it was vulnerable to attack, and a chin turret was added under the nose. Turbine and regulator line oil problems were remedied. By the end of the war, when long-range fighter escort was an efficient defensive protection, the weaponry load was reduced by dispensing with the radio room gun and one waist gun. Because enemy flak batteries posed a bigger hazard by enemy fighters by this time, unnecessary gunner armour plate also gave way to protective flak curtains made of laminated steel and canvas plates.

The general specifications of the fighting B-17 are as follows:

  • Span: 103ft 10in (32m)
  • Length: 74ft 4in (23m)
  • Height: 19ft 1in (5.8m)
  • Mass (empty): 36,135lb (16,390kg)
  • Mass (fully loaded):55,000lb (24,950kg)
  • Armament: Thirteen .50-calibre machine guns; normal bomb load of 6,000lbs (3000kg)
  • Engines: Four Wright Cyclone R-1820 radials with turbocharagers
  • Speed (maximum): 300mph (480km per hour)
  • Speed (cruising): 170 mph (270km per hour)
  • Combat Range: 1,850 miles (2,980km)
  • Service ceiling: 35,000ft (11km)
  • Cost: Approximately $276,000

B-17 Compartments and Crew

Each B-17 has a crew of four officers and six enlisted men who are responsible for different compartments of the plane and different components of the mission:


This is the main control centre for the bomber. The flight deck is an elevated enclosure situated between the nose section and the bomb bay, and houses both the pilot's and co-pilot's seats as well as flight control instrumentation. Behind the seats is the Sperry top turret, which rotates 360 degrees on its axis, with twin 0.50-calibre machine guns.

Pilot (officer) – the pilot is usually the highest-ranking officer, and commander of the airplane. He is the one responsible for the safety and efficiency of the crew, and is given the task of training his crew, enhancing team work and establishing quality control of his crew.

Co-pilot (officer) – he is the pilot's right-hand man and the executive officer of the bomber. During flight, he is responsible for engine and cruising controls, and maintains a complete log of performance data. In the event that the pilot is unable to function, the co-pilot must be able to take over.

Engineer – the flight engineer ensures that the plane runs properly while in the air. He is responsible for engine operation, fuel consumption and operation of all other equipment on board the bomber. His fighting position is as the top turret gunner.

Nose section

This is the navigator and bombardier's station. It is equipped with a Norden bombsight, two machine guns (port and starboard) and, on the B-17G, a chin turret.

Navigator (officer) – the navigator is responsible for getting the plane to the target destination and back to base. In addition, he is required to be familiar with instrument calibration, pre-flight planning and flight debriefing, and services the right cheek machine gun.

Bombardier (officer) – the bombardier is the one who delivers the payload. He takes absolute control of the plane during the bomb run, sometimes through the bomb sight on the way to the main point of impact. His gun is on the left cheek of the plane.

Bomb bay

Just behind the pilot's compartment is the bomb bay, which houses the plane's payload of explosives. The bombs are mounted on racks on either side, with a narrow catwalk spanning the bay, and must be armed by the bombardier before they are dropped.

Radio compartment

Past the bomb bay is the radio operator's station. Many B-17s after May 1944 did not carry guns in this section after it was determined as being the least used in action, although the movie Memphis Belle showed B-17Fs equipped with guns in the radio compartment.

Radio operator – the radio operator is responsible for all radio equipment and communications on board the plane. He keeps the position records, the liaison and command radio sets properly tuned and in good condition, and maintains the communications log. He is also usually designated flight photographer.

Ball turret and waist section; tail gunner's compartment

Directly behind the radio compartment, suspended from the belly of the plane is the ball turret, the least popular station on the plane. It is armed with two 0.50-calibre machine guns, and can rotate in any direction from almost straight down to parallel with the plane’s underside. Beyond this is the waist section, which holds a further two machine guns operated by the waist gunners.

Right at the end of the plane in the tail section is the tail gunner's compartment. It is equipped with twin 0.50-calibre machine guns.

Gunners – there are four people whose primary responsibility is to shoot anything that moves and that does not belong to their side. This consists of two waist gunners (left and right), the ball turret gunner and the tail gunner. They are the experts in aircraft identification, and are required to be competent in the maintenance and operation of their guns in various weather conditions. They are also required to be able to operate all the guns in any station.

The Surviving B-17s

It was calculated that the average life of an 8th Air Force B-17 was 215 days: 119 days of being non-operational, 49 days of repair, and 47 days of flying missions. The high frequency of air raid missions and the fury with which the enemy struck in the sky meant heavy casualties, and a B-17 that survived a complete tour of duty in its first year reached almost legendary status.

Of the 12,731 B-17 built during the war, 4,735 were lost during combat missions. A grand total of 47 airframes is all that is left of this Second World War legend. Of these, four are partial airframes; 19 are on display in various institutions; five are undergoing restoration; and another five are in storage. Only fourteen are operational and are still flown occasionally.

Of the 47, there is a small number of B-17s that have attained a certain degree of fame, and any Second World War enthusiast will have heard of at least one of these:

The Swoose (Serial No 40-3097)

The Swoose deserves special mention not only as the oldest surviving B-17, but also as the only known US military plane to have flown in combat on the very first day the US entered the Second World War.

Unlike most of the B-17s that still exist today, the Swoose is a B-17D, a precursor to the fighting B-17. Originally nicknamed 'Ole Betty' by her crew, she began her career as Lieutenant Henry Godman's bomber on 28 April, 1941 - and what a career it was. It was this bomber that made the first non-stop flight by a land-based military aircraft from continental US to Hawaii, it was the first to fly a night-bombing mission and it was the first bomber to shoot down a Japanese Zero fighter. She also flew the second bombing mission of the war, three days after Pearl Harbour, bombing Japanese forces invading the Philippines at Lingayen Gulf.

Ole Betty's official career as a bomber ended on 11 January, 1942 when, following relocation to Singosari, Java, three enemy fighters mounted a 35-minute attack against the bomber. Her crew shot down two of the three fighters, and Ole Betty managed to scurry away, but the damage was severe enough to terminate her career as a warplane.

The bomber was flown to Melbourne, Australia where she was refitted with a new tail from another bomber and given a complete overhaul. Her second captain, Weldon Smith renamed her 'The Swoose' after a popular American song about a tormented gander1, since she was practically a composite of parts from other bombers. She became the personal plane of Lieutenant General George Brett, Commander of Allied Air Forces after her new captain Frank Kurtz2 chose her to ferry the general to Australia.

The Swoose broke the speed record flying from Sydney, Australia, to Wellington, New Zealand on 17 May, 1942. One month later, during a trip to Australia, her navigation equipment malfunctioned and her crew were forced to make a landing near a sheep station outside Winton, Queensland. On board the Swoose on that occasion, funnily enough, was a certain Lieutenant Commander Lyndon B Johnson, who was on a fact-finding mission for President Roosevelt.

Two months later, the Swoose broke yet another speed record when Kurtz flew her back from Brisbane to Hamilton Field, California.

Frank Kurtz left as the Swoose's captain in July, 1943 when he took over command of the 463rd Bomb Group and was given a brand-new B-17G, which he named - to nobody's surprise - 'The Swoose'.

The original Swoose was grounded in February 1944 when a team from Panama Air Depot found not only numerous small cracks in the main spars of both wings between the landing gear and the fuselage (which was enough to ground a plane) but also corrosion in several areas. Her then captain, Jack Crane, tried to protect her from death by cannibalisation. It was fortunate for her that he was an engineer; it was even more fortunate that he managed to find sufficient parts not only to repair her, but to upgrade her to a B-17E. Within just two months, the Swoose was fit to fly again...

...only to have her career ended again when General Brett retired in 1945.

It was Frank Kurtz who came to the Swoose's rescue upon hearing that she'd been marked for the boneyard, and arranged for the City of Los Angeles - which was planning to create a war memorial for the B-17 - to purchase her for $350. She was repainted drab olive and black and flown to Mines Field (Los Angeles' municipal airport) on April 6, 1946, where she would spend the next few years.

When the city's plans fell through, Kurtz approached the Smithsonian Institute. Its curator Paul Garber agreed to accept her. Kurtz would once again fly his bomber - this time to the Douglas C-54 assembly plant at Park Ridge, Illinois, which served as the Smithsonian's temporary storage hangar for their museum aircraft. Booted out again on 18 January, 1952, she was relocated to Pyote, Texas, where she was stored together with the famous B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay.

The Swoose made her last flight on 3 December, 1953 - to Andrew AFB, Maryland. Two days into the flight, two of her engines failed; a third quit just before she touched down at Andrews. She would spend the next six years there, vandalised almost to total destruction. Finally, in April, 1961, she was dismantled and brought to the National Air and Space Museum's Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility at Silverhall, where she lies today.

Aluminium Overcast (Serial No 44-85740)

A B-17G nicknamed 'Aluminium Overcast' was delivered to the USAAC on May 18, 1945 just as the war was wrapping up. Too late to be a part of the action, the bomber was sold as surplus in 1946 for a paltry $750 with most of its original military equipment stripped. It was put into service as a cargo haulier, aerial mapping platform and in non-military applications that included pest control and forest dusting.

It wasn't until 1978 that a group of investors, led by Dr Bill Harrison, wishing to preserve the heritage of the B-17s purchased the Aluminium Overcast. Because it was simply impractical to privately maintain and restore a vintage bomber, the group donated the B-17 to the EAA Aviation Foundation in 1983, where it would undergo ten years of restoration, partly funded by the veterans of the 398th Bomb Group of the Second World War. Much of the equipment that had been removed when it was sold in 1946 was located, restored and returned to the bomber, including its Norden bombsight, waist guns and communications equipment.

Until October 1993, the airplane was displayed at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It was then moved to the Foundation's Kermit Weeks Flight Research Centre for maintenance and further restoration. One year later, the bomber went on national tour.

Today, the Aluminium Overcast is still making its rounds around the US. It is open to the public for exploring, and a half-hour flight experience program is offered to enthusiasts who wish to take a trip through time. Proceeds from the program go to the EAA Aviation Foundation for the continuing restoration, maintenance and preservation of the historic bomber.

My Gal Sal (Serial No 41-9032)

The story of My Gal Sal is a sad one - that of a bomber that crashed even before it saw action in the war. The only complete configured B-17E to survive, she was among the first four of a flight of B-17s assigned to the 342nd Squadron of the 97th Bomb Group. There she was assigned to a training crew at MacDill Field, near Tampa, Florida in 1942. Following a short mission to the West Coast, her crew brought her to Presque Isle, Maine in preparation for assignment to Europe.

On 26 June, 1942, the first 13 planes took off from Goose Bay, Labrador for their refuelling base in Greenland. The weather was bad, and five bombers returned to their airfield. Another five ultimately made it to their destination on June 27, despite the bad weather. Unfortunately, My Gal Sal was not among these ten. She was one of the three unlucky ones that ran out of fuel while in search of their refuelling base.

Her crew ditched her on the icecap at latitude 65.21'N, longitude 45.53'W, one day after she began her flight. In hope of being rescued, her captain, Lieutenant Ralf Stinson, and his crew hacked off her prop tips to start her engines, run her generator and broadcast an emergency signal. Thanks to their quick thinking, they were quickly found by one of the six Navy planes sent to search for them, and supplies were dropped to them while the Navy figured out a rescue plan.

However, their ordeal was far from over. Because the icecap was crevassed and very slushy, there was nowhere for the rescue team to land their plane. On 3 July, the rescue team found a small lake forming in a basin 12 miles from the downed plane, and determined that it would be sufficient to land an amphibian PBY airplane. Because of bad weather, the rescue mission was delayed until the morning of the 5th. They managed to get the downed crew out of the crash site by evening, and directed back to the lake by a PBY flown by Lieutenant Paranuk. Eventually, the party reached the lake on the morning of 6 July, whereupon they were picked up by the PBY. The crew was returned to stateside.

Unfortunately, My Gal Sal was forgotten in the excitement, and it would be 1964 before she was seen again. A USAF reconnaissance flight discovered her in the snow, her tail broken off by the constant movement of ice and high winds. A year later, representatives of the Society of Automotive Engineers visited the crash site to harvest samples of hydraulic fluid, rubber, canvas, Plexiglas materials and navigational and aircrew equipment items for the purpose of evaluating the long-term effects on them by the Arctic environment3.

It was not until 1995, however, that any attempt was made to rescue My Gal Sal. She was recovered by Gary Larkins, a renowned salvager. It took almost three weeks for her parts to be flown off the icecap by helicopter, after which she was brought to Norfolk, Virginia on 1 October in an Icelandic motor vessel called SKOGAFOSS, making headlines in the Virginia Pilot newspaper. She would later be sent to Tillamook, Oregon, where she would spend the next five years.

Restoration of My Gal Sal began in Ohio in 2000 after she was purchased by Cincinnati local Bob Ready. Today, after over three years of persistent restoration work, the fuselage is complete. Interior work is almost done as well - the cockpit, nose and radio compartment have recently been finished, and the heart of the hydraulics system has been installed. She is no longer the sad wreck they found on the Greenland ice. But she will also never fly again.

Sally B (Serial No 44-85784)

The Sally B is, sadly, the last remaining airworthy B-17 in the UK. She rolled off the Lockheed-Vega production line at Burbank at the end of the war in 1944, and was delivered to Nashville. Three years after the war, she was put into service at Wright Field, Ohio. From there she was posted to a number of other USAF bases doing weather research work including Schenactady (New York), Hill (Utah) and Olmstead (New Jersey), during which time her turrets were removed and she was redesignated 'BA-784'. Ten years later, on March 18, she was relocated to the Institute Geographique National in Creil for photo survey work, and re-registered as 'F-BGSR'4.

The Sally B did not return to her roots until 1975 when Ted White bought her and brought her to England, where, as Sally B she made her air display debut at the Biggin Hill Air Fair on May 18. Just four years later in October, a plaque dedicated to the memory of the 79,000 American airmen who lost their lives in Europe during the Second World War was placed in her radio compartment. The plaque was unveiled by Colonel John K Vanden Heuvel DSC at a ceremony at Duxford Airfield, and officially made the Sally B a flying memorial of the Second World War.

The Sally B Supporters Club was founded in 1980 to help market the aircraft to raise funds for her maintenance and upkeep. She has been operated by Elly Sallingboe of B-17 Preservation since 1982, maintained by Chief Engineer Peter Brown with his team of volunteers and flown by volunteer professional pilots. A dedicated team of volunteers and over 6,500 Sally B Supporters Club members have kept her going since then. The RAF Museum was kind enough to allow Sally B to be refitted with the engines from their own B-17 (which had less mileage than Sally B's), which was marked for static display, and Sprayavia advanced the cost of repainting Sally B in protective olive drab to preserve her corroding skin. When not flying, Sally B is on static display at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.

Sally B's claim to fame as a movie star came when she was first featured in the LWT We'll Meet Again TV series during the winter of 1980-1981, and the advance from the movie provided for the full set of dummy turrets installed in her. The TV series, filmed at West Malling, created a whole new following for the bomber and stimulated Ted White's dream of an all-vintage air show, which was to become the Great Warbirds Air Display. In a tragic twist of fate, Ted White and his friend Mark Campbell died in a crash in Malta in June 1982, just before the air show was held. As tribute to Ted White, Sally B's starboard inner cowling was painted with the same black and yellow checker marking as the Harvard that brought about White's untimely death. It will always carry these colours in memory of White.

Interestingly, the movie that made her a minor TV celebrity was about another famous B-17 - the Memphis Belle. She was cast in the role of the bomber in the summer of 1989 in a David Putnam re-telling of the famous 1943 documentary by William Wyler, co-produced by Wyler's daughter Catherine. Because the Belle was a B-17F, the Sally B had to undergo a facelift, which involved the removal of her nose turret and the placement of functional guns in her tail and ball turrets. Besides the Belle, she was also featured as a number of other fortresses: Baby Ruth, C-Cup and Gee Whiz. The battered B-17 flying home in the flying sequence is, in fact, the Sally B and not the original Belle.

The bomber had to be stripped back to metal immediately after the filming of Memphis Belle, due to the layers of paint it carried during the filming period. However, in tribute to the first B-17 to complete its tour of duty in Europe, the Sally B has once again been painted to resemble the Memphis Belle, although she continues to carry Ted White's checkered cowling and Teddy Bear symbol.

Memphis Belle (Serial No 41-24485)

The prize for the most famous Flying Fortress undeniably goes to the Memphis Belle, which was the first B-17 to complete 25 missions during the war. She was sent into active duty at the 8th Air Force in England, and was assigned to Captain Robert Morgan, who named her after his girlfriend in Memphis, Tennessee, and served from 7 November, 1942 to 17 May, 1943.

Following the war, she tottered on the edge of ruin in a disused airplane boneyard before being rescued by a reporter who spotted her, and the Mayor of Memphis, in 1946. She was brought home to Memphis on 17 July, 1946.

Today the Memphis Belle is a national historic treasure, has a Memphis Belle Memorial Association to take care of her, and is currently undergoing restoration at the Millington airport. Once her facelift is complete, she will be once again on static display.

Appendix: A list of all surviving B-17s

Airworthy B-17s

NameSerial NumberOwnerLocation
Aluminum Overcast44-85740Experimental Aircraft AssociationOshkosh, Wisconsin
Boeing Bee42-29782Museum of FlightSeattle, Washington
Chuckie44-8543Vintage Flying MuseumFort Worth, Texas
Flying Fortress44-83785 Evergreen AviationMcMinnville, Oregon
Fuddy Duddy44-83563American Air Power MuseumFarmingdale, New York
Memphis Belle544-83546American Air Power Museum Farmingdale, New York
Miss Angela44-85778Palm Springs Air MuseumPalm Springs, California
Nine O' Nine44-83575Collings FoundationStow, Massachusetts
Pink Lady44-8846Forteresse Toujours VolanteLa Ferté-Alais, France
Sally B44-85784B-17 Preservation LtdDuxford, England
Sentimental Journey44-83514Commemorative Air ForceMesa, Arizona
Texas Raiders44-83872Commemorative Air ForceMesa, Arizona
Thunderbird44-85718Lone Star Flight MuseumGalveston, Texas
Yankee Lady44-85829Yankee Air ForceBelleville, Michigan

B-17s on static display

NameSerial NumberOwnerLocation
Desert Rat41-2595Desert Rat RestorationMarengo, Illinois
Gremlins' Hideout44-83863Air Force Armament MuseumFlorida
Heavens Above44-83512Lackland AFBSan Antonio, Texas
Homesick Angel42-3374Strategic Air & Space MuseumAshland, New England
I'll Be Around44-85828390th Memorial MuseumTucson, Arizona
King Bee44-83559Strategic Air & Space MuseumAshland, New England
Lacey Lady44-85790The Lacey FamilyMilwaukie, Oregon
Mary Alice44-83735Imperial War Museum - DuxfordDuxford, England
Memphis Belle41-24485Memphis Belle Memorial AssociationMemphis, Tennessee
Miss Liberty Bell44-83690 Grissom Air ParkGrissom ARB, Indiana
My Gal Sal41-9032Bob Ready/Ultimate SacrificeCincinnati, Ohio
Outhouse Mouse44-85734Fortress FlightKissimmee, Florida
Picadilly Lilly II44-83684Planes of FameChino, California
Piccadilly Princess44-83542Fantasy of Flight MuseumPolk City, Florida
Preston's Pride44-85738Amvets MemorialMefford Field, California
The Reluctant Dragon44-85599Dyess Linear Air ParkDyess AFB, Texas
Return to Glory44-6393The March Field MuseumMarch ARB, California
Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby42-37938USAF MuseumWright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
Short Bier44-83663Hill Aerospace MuseumUtah
Sleepy Time Gal44-83624Air Mobility Command MuseumDover AFB, Delaware
Suzy-Q44-83525Kermit Weeks (under restoration)Polk City, Florida
Swoose40-3097NASMSilver Hill, Maryland
Virgin's Delight43-38635Castle Air MuseumAtwater, California
Yankee Doodle II44-838848th AF MuseumBarksdale AFB, Los Angeles

Stored or Wrecked

Serial NumberOwnerLocation
41-9210Heritage Flying CollectionArlington, Washington
44-8889Le Bourget Air MuseumCedex, France
44-83316Kermit WeeksBorrego Springs, California
44-83718Museuo AerospacialRio de Janeiro
44-83722Kermit WeeksBorrego Springs, California
44-83868RAF MuseumHendon, UK
44-85813Tom Reilly Vintage AircraftKissimmee, Florida
44-85583?Guararapes Airport, Brazil


1. Alkiviades, A. 1993. B-17 Flying Fortress: World War II Bombers in Action. Telahin Micropose game manual.

2. Morgan, R and R Powers. 2001. The Man Who Flew the Memphis Belle: Memoir of a World War II Bomber Pilot. Penguin, USA.

3. Perkins, BW. Memphis Belle - Biography of a B-17 Flying Fortress. Schiffer Publishing, Inc.

Col. Robert Morgan's letter in response to the 1990 movie review by Mark Leeper

Check out this list of:

Other B-17 Resources:

1'Here comes little Alexander, what a funny looking gander. He's half swan and he's half goose, ha-ha-ha, he's just a Swoose.'2Kurtz liked her name so much that, when his daughter was born on September 6, 1944, he named her 'Swoosie' after the bomber. Yes, the great actress Swoosie Kurtz was named after a plane her father flew.3These same parts are now on display at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Museum.4This Institute used B-17Gs for their survey work up until the 1970s, thus contributing to the preservation of these historic aircraft in Europe.5This is not the original Memphis Belle, but the one named after it.

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