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BOEING B-17 FLYING FORTRESS



Type: High-Altitude Heavy Bombing
Origin: Boeing
Models: Model 299, B-17 to B-17G, Y1B-17
Crew: Six to Ten
First Flight: 299: July 28, 1935, Y1B-17: January 1937
First Delivery: B-17B: June 1939
Combat Debut: N/A
Final Delivery: April 1945
Production: 12,731 (8,680 B-17Gs)

POWERPLANT:
B-17C to E
   Model: Wright R-1820-65 Cyclone
   Type: 9-cyl. radials with exhaust driven turbochargers
   Number: Four       Horsepower: N/A

B-17G
   Model: Wright R-1820-97 Cyclone
   Type: 9-cyl. radials with exhaust driven turbochargers
   Number: Four       Horsepower: 1,200

DIMENSIONS:
Wing Span (B-17G): 103 ft. 9 in. (31.6m)
Length:
    B-17B, C, D: 67 ft. 11 in.
    B-17E: 73 ft. 10 in.
    B-17G: 74 ft. 9 in. (22.8m)
Height:
    B-17B, C, D: 15 ft. 5 in.
    B-17G: 19 ft. 1 in. (5.8m)
Wing Area: N/A

WEIGHTS:
   Empty:
       B-17B, C, D: 31,150 lb.
       B-17G: 32,720-35,800 lb. (14,855-16,200 kg)
   Loaded:
       B-17B, C, D: 44,200-46,650 lb.
       B-17E: 53,000 lb.
       B-17G: 65,600 lb. (29,700 kg)
PERFORMANCE:
Max. Speed:
       B-17C & D: 323 mph
       B-17E: 317 mph
       B-17G: 287 mph (462 kph)
Cruising Speed:
       B-17C & D: 250 mph
       B-17E: 210 mph
       B-17G: 182 mph (293 kph)
Service Ceiling (B-17G): 35,000 ft. (10,670 m)
Range (B-17G):
    1,100 miles (1,760 km) with max bomb load

ARMAMENT: B-17G
Two 0.5 in. Browning MG in chin turret
Two 0.5 in. Browning MG in dorsal turret
Two 0.5 in. Browning MG in ventral ball turret
Two 0.5 in. Browning MG in tail turret
One 0.5 in. Browning MG in each waist
One 0.5 in. Browning MG in radio compartment
Two 0.5 in. Browning MG in nose sockets

BOMB LOAD:
6,000 lb. (2724 kg.) typical load carried internally
12,800 lb. (5800 kg.) maximum load carried internally

VARIANTS:
XB-40: escort gunship variant
BQ-7 Aphrodite: radio-controlled missile
F-9: reconnaissance
XC-108: executive transport
CB-17: utility transport
PB-1W: radar early-warning
PB-1G: air/sea rescue w. life boat
QB-17: target drones

Surviving B-17 Flying Fortress

Comments:
   Designed in response to a May 1934 US Army Air Corps specification for a multi-engined anti-shipping bomber. The Boeing design stood out among the other twin-engined designs with it's four engines and excellent speed. 20 B-17Cs were supplied to the RAF as the Fortress I and served with 90 squadron of Bomber Command. These aircraft were used in several daylight raids and provided Boeing with substantial data that led to significant changes in the design resulting in the B-17D. Surviving Fortress Is later served with Coastal command and Middle eastern forces.
   The B-17D joined the US Army and served extensively in the South Pacific during the initial months of the war. The experience gained from this combat led to the development of the B-17E which had a much bigger vertical tail, substantially increaded armour and powered turrets. The E was deployed to ETO and on August 17, 1942 started three years of strategic bombing.
   The E led to the B-17F, which was mainly detail improvements. This further led to the B-17G which was the standard production model and was built in larger numbers than all other variants combined.
   Several aircraft continue to fly today and make a dramatic presence whenever they appear at airshows.

Image Gallery

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B-17 42-10257 "Easter Bunny".


Sources:
Gunston, Bill - The Encyclodepia of the Worlds Combat aircraft, 1976, Chartwell Books, Inc., New York

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