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Boeing B-17G-90-DL Flying Fortress

History of the B-17G “Flying Fortress”

Based off the Model 299 and with production beginning in 1937, the B-17 was first introduced in 1935 and was the first Boeing military aircraft with a flight deck instead of an open cockpit. The B-17 was designed to penetrate deep into enemy territory and became highly revered for its ability to incur damage and still remain in flight. This aircraft was armed with bombs and five .30-caliber machine guns mounted in clear blisters. Its mission impact also proved the effectiveness of strategic bombardment, which many were skeptical about before World War II.

In 1943, the B-17G model entered service and became the most produced variant of the B-17, with over 8,680 built. G models were defined by their weapon and equipment improvements and were best known for the strategic bombing of German industrial targets during World War II. The B-17 was retired in 1968 after Boeing produced a total of 12,731 aircraft.

Boeing B-17G-90-DL
"Flying Fortress"

Serial Number: 44-83663

Manufacturer: Boeing

Crew: Ten

Engines: Four Wright Cyclone R-1820-97 radial; 1,200 horsepower each

Wingspan: 103 feet 9 3/8 inches

Length: 74 feet 4 inches

Height: 19 feet 3 inches

Weight: 36,135 pounds (empty); 72,000 pounds (maximum)

Speed: 182 mph (cruising); 287 mph (maximum)

Range: 2,000 miles (normal); 3,750 miles (maximum)

Service Ceiling: 35,600 feet

Armament: Thirteen .50-caliber machine guns; up to 17,600 pounds of bombs in internal bomb bay and external racks; normal bomb load: 4,000 pounds

Cost: $204,370 (average B-17 unit cost in 1944)

The B-17G Flying Fortress at Hill Air Force Base

Hill Air Force Base performed a significant amount of repair and maintenance on B-17s during and after World War II. In 1942, the Ogden Depot was assigned primary maintenance roles and logistic support functions for the B-17 aircraft. The B-17G on display was manufactured in 1945 and served in the Brazilian Air Force for 15 years after undergoing maintenance in 1953.

In 1987, the B-17 aircraft at Hill Aerospace Museum was obtained by Ogden businessman and Major John A. Lindquist, who also served on the Board of Directors for the Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah, for restoration and display at Hill Aerospace Museum. The exterior was restored in 1991 to replicate the “Short Bier” that was part of the 493rd Bombardment Group (Heavy). Originally the “Short Bier” was a B-24 Liberator, but when the squadron switched to B-17s, the name was transferred to a Flying Fortress. Major John A. Lindquist, a member of the Utah Aviation Hall of Fame, and his crew finished their tour of duty in the B-17 “Short Bier,” but that aircraft was later lost in action. The current B-17 is therefore the third “Short Bier” and is painted in the colors of the 493rd Bombardment Group.

Discover the answers to the following questions to learn more about this aircraft.

Why is the B-17 called the Flying Fortress?

The Flying Fortress nickname was well-earned. Capable of withstanding intense hits under enemy fire, the four-engine heavy bomber was equipped with 13 Browning M-2 .50-caliper mounted machine guns. and could carry a bomb load of up to 6,000 pounds in a single mission.

How many guns did a B-17 have?

The B-17G at Hill Aerospace Museum is equipped with 13 Browning M-2 .50-caliber mounted machine guns. There are two machine guns in the main cabin, two in the chin turret, one in the ball turret, plus several more throughout the aircraft. Click here to learn more about the B-17G at Hill Aerospace Museum.

What was the B-17 used for?

The B-17’s primary role was a heavy bomber. It was also used as a transport and search and rescue aircraft. B-17s were most frequently used in daytime raids over Germany. They were also used against enemy ships in the Pacific, including the Battle of Midway.

What does B-17 stand for?

The B-17 was designed by Boeing in response to a 1934 Army Air Corps request for a four-engine, heavy bomber. The B stands for bomber and the number 17 refers to a variation in the development of the aircraft.

What type of fuel does a B-17 use?

AvGas available during WWII ranged from 80 to 100 octane, until later aircraft like the Spitfire required higher octane. B-17s could be equipped with Tokyo tanks—self-mounting fuel tanks that increased the flying range so the bombers could reach Japan. The tanks added 1,080 gallons to the 1700-gallon capacity carried in the six wing tanks. An additional 820 gallons could be carried in an optional bomb bay auxiliary tank, for a total of 3,600 gallons.

What replaced the B-17?

The B-17 Flying Fortress was the workhorse of WWII, but there was still a need for heavy bombers to dominate the air even as the war was ending. Consolidated Aircraft was licensed to reproduce B-17s, but instead submitted a new design —the B-24 Liberator. While the B-17 was preferred by Americans in Europe for the duration of WWII, it was replaced in the Pacific by the Liberator, which had a greater flying range. Today, the United States Air Force fields some of the most advanced bombers that have ever flown and continues to innovate aircraft technology.

Are there any B-17s still flying?

The B-17 was quickly phased out of use as a bomber near the end of WWII. Of the 12,731 B-17s produced by Boeing, Lockheed and Douglas from 1935 through 1968, there are less than 50 fully intact B-17s remaining today. Only 10 remain airworthy, including one used as a stand in for the Memphis Belle movie. Most remaining B-17s are on static display or in storage, although some remain registered with the Federal Aviation Administration.

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