Staying with the theme of
aviation in the Southwest, all of the following Flying Forts
have some connection with the area.
This series shows the red wing tip markings carried by all aircraft, the bombay area with the slurry discharge and the Wright R-1820 engines that powered the B-17.
arriving at the Santa Teresa, New Mexico airport for a visit to
the War Eagles
Air Museum on April 15, 2009. This aircraft has a
long and varied career. After entering service and
conversion to a lifeboat carrying SB-17G this Flying Fortress has
survived everything from being nuked*, to a long career as a
fire bomber and even a disastrous crash. She now flies as
Nine-O-Nine with the Collings
Foundation. Unfortunately she was destroyed with
seven fatalities at the Bradley International Airport, Windsor
Locks, CT on 2 October, 2019. The aircraft was almost entirely
consumed in the post crash fire (more details will be added as
they become available). (CB)
* 575 was
used as a test subject during a three nuclear shots in the Operation Tumbler-Snapper
series in 1953. The aircraft suffered damage severe
enough to be considered a write-off. After a "cooling off"
period she was offered for sale in 1964. On May 14, 1965
she was flown from Yucca Flats, NV to Mesa, AZ. It was not
until 1975 that 575 joined the tanker fleet where she served
until 1985. Destroyed 2019.
83684 has been
with the Planes of Fame
Air Museum at Chino, CA for many years and prior to that
at the Ontario, CA airport.. Christened "Picadilly Lily II" she was
one of the stars of the 1960s television show Twelve O'clock
High. The first photo shows her still carrying her
registration of N3713G when based at The Planes of Fame museum
at Ontario. Within a few years the museum moved to Chino.
Why does this photo look like it was taken by a child? Well, it
was! I took this picture when my I visited the museum with my
dad in June, 1970. I had seen the airplane at Biggs AFB when I
was about ten and had fond memories of that. So I took a bad
photograph with a Kodak Brownie when I had a chance. When the
next two photos were taken in March, 2007 she was in the midst
of a long term restoration that is still ongoing as of
September, 2019. The final five pictures were taken in
September, 2019 and the work is progressing slowly, but it is
progress never the less. (CB)
44-83872, is another CAF
bird. She is operated as N7227C and has been another great
airshow bird. The single wheeled flyby is part of the "Tora,
Tora, Tora" routine put on at many airshows, in this case
the 1981 Amigo Airshow in ELP. Texas Raiders finally got
back in the air on October 14, 2009 after a seven year rebuild to
address an FAA Airworthiness Directive relating to B-17 wing
spars. This has been a long awaited event! (CB) Sadly,
Texas Raiders was destroyed in a mid-air collision with P-63F
43-11719 [N6763] Saturday 12 November, 2022 during the Wings
Over Dallas airshow resulting in the deaths of six individuals.
They are identified by the B-17 Texas Raiders org as: Terry Barker of Keller, TX; Craig Hutain of
Montgomery, TX; Kevin “K5” Michels of Austin, TX; Dan Ragan of
Dallas, TX; Leonard Root of Ft Worth, TX; Curt Rowe of
Hilliard,OH. A preliminary
report by the NTSB was released at the end of November, 2022,
but it will be some time before the investigation is complete
and a final report issued.
This B-17G-100-VE (44-85599) sat derelict at the Abilene, Texas airport for many years before being restored as 42-38133 and placed on display at Dyess AFB Linear Airpark. This is a great outdoor airpark with many well restored and displayed aircraft. Unfortunately, due to the current heightened state of alert the airpark is currently closed to visitors. (CB)
"Memphis Belle" is
often stated to be the first B-17 to safely complete twenty five
missions in the ETO. While that feat is disputed she is
still an important artifact and is treated almost with
reverence. This is another airframe that will require a
great investment of time and resources to restore. As the
artwork had been repainted several time over the years, the
first time being during War Bond tours during WW II, so it
will be striped and repainted during final restorations.
In these August, 2009 photos there is still a long way to
go. There has been some talk of placing this B-17 on
display at the NMUSAF
and finishing restoration while on exhibit. (CB)
B-17F named "Boeing Bee"
was photographed at Boeing Field near Seattle, WA in October,
"Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby"
is another veteran of combat. She was discovered in France
after have been abandoned for years and was transported to Dover
AFB in 1978 where volunteers spent the next ten years breathing
life into her. In 1988 she was flown to the Air Force
her service in World War Two she sported a natural metal finish,
but due to the many areas that needed reskinning a decision was
made to paint her in olive drab over neutral gray for
display. In the near future she will move to the National Air and Space Museum
for display. The above photos were taken in August,
This B-17 played the part of "Memphis Belle" in the 1989
movie of the same name. She is seen during
March, 2013 while on
a fuel stop in El Paso while on a trip to the West coast.
Named Miss Liberty
Belle, 690 is displayed at the Grissom Air Museum.
outdoors she appears to be structurally sound in the August,
2009 photos. In late 2015 she was relocated to the Museum
of Aviation, Robins AFB, Georgia. (CB)
The RAF Museum at Hendon has B-17G 44-83868 displayed among a number of other important airplanes. With in the halls of the museum are a B-25, B-24, Lancaster, Vulcan and the remains of a Halifax B Mk.II (W1048) recovered from Lake Hoklingen in Norway. This museum along with its sister museum at RAF Cosford is one of the world's great aviation museums and are among my personal favorites. (CB)
the background of trees and clouds "Yankee Lady" looks like she could be at any
bomber base in England during 1944. In reality she is at
here home at the Yankee
Air Museum in Yipsilanti, MI in June, 1996.
Registered as N3193G she is another active airshow
pair of B-17s in their natural element.
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