B-17G Flying Fortress

Manufacturer: Boeing
Designation: B-17
Version: G
Nickname: Flying Fortress
Type: Bomber
Specifications
Length: 74' 4" 22.66 M
Height: 19' 1" 5.82 M
Wingspan: 103' 10" 31.65 M
Wingarea: 1420.00 Sq Ft 131.91 Sq M
Empty Weight: 36135.0 lbs 16387.0 Kg
Gross Weight: 65500.0 lbs 29705.0 Kg
Propulsion
No. of Engines: 4
Powerplant: Wright R-1820-97 Cyclone
Horsepower (each): 1200
Performance
Range: 3400 miles 5475.00 Km
Cruise Speed: 182.00 mph 293.00 Km/H 158.38 Kt
Max Speed: 287.00 Mph 462.00 Km/H 249.73 Kt
Ceiling: 35600.0 Ft 10850.0 M

 

Designed to implement the United States Army Air Corps concept of Strategic Bombing the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was the undisputed centerpiece of the U.S. air campaign in Europe during the Second World War. The four-engine heavy bomber carried an impressive 5,000 to 8,000 pound bomb load and an extensive defensive armament of up to 13 .50 caliber heavy machine guns. Intended to operate in conjunction with other Fortresses in massive formations, squadrons of B-17s took advantage of inter-locking fields of fire to drive off attacking enemy fighters while precision Norden bombsights dropped high explosive and incendiary bombs on
strategic targets in the enemy heartland. Coupled with RAF Bomber Command in its night bombing campaign, USAAF heavy bomber daylight strikes attempted to force Nazi Germany into surrender by crushing domestic industry, war production and the German peoples will to resist.

 

Heavy fighting brought massive causalities among U.S. bomber crews making participation in the Combined Bomber Offensive one of the most dangerous missions of WW2. By May of 1945, B-17s of the USAAF 8th and 15th Air Forces had delivered over 640,000 pounds of bombs onto enemy targets throughout Europe while B-17 gunners shot down more enemy fighters than any
other Allied aircraft of the war.

 

Manufactured in Long Beach, California the museum's B-17G serial number 44-6393 was accepted into USAAF service in July of 1944. The aircraft was initially assigned to the 15th Air
Force arriving in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in August of that year. Documented primary source information indicates 44-6393 was acquired as a command transport for the Commander of the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces, Air Force legend General Ira Eaker, as a replacement for B-17E "Yardbird" his prior command aircraft. At the time of the transfer many of the defensive armaments were temporarily removed (including the turrets) and the aircraft received the name "Starduster" a designator it kept as General Eaker's personal transport for the rest of the war. During its service, "Starduster" flew the General from Italy and North Africa to conferences and planning meetings in England, the Soviet Union and the continental United States.

 

After General Eaker's retirement in 1947, "Starduster" was assigned as a VIP transport to various U.S. bases in the Far East and Canada. Serving until 1956, long after most B-17s had
left the USAF inventory; 44-6393 was transferred to storage in Arizona and dropped from the USAF active inventory. In June of 1956, it was transferred to the government of Bolivia where it served and additional 25 years as a cargo transport.

 

"Starduster" was reacquired by the USAF in January 1981 and flown to the United States for restoration and display at the March AFB Museum. Returned by museum volunteers to its 1944 configuration and graced with General Eaker's "Starduster" nose art, 44-6393 remains on loan from the USAF to the March Field Air Museum.


B-17G-50, s/n 44-6393

Manufactured by Douglas Aircraft, Long Beach CA and delivered to the USAAF on
22 Jul 1944.

Jul 1944 - To Kearney AAF NE

Aug 1944 - To Fifteenth Air Force, Mediterranean Theater of Operations 

Jun 1945 - To 4112nd AAF Base Unit (Air Technical Service Command), Olmsted
AAF PA

May 1945 - To 1st AAF Base Unit (Continental Air Force), Bolling AAF DC (to
CB-17G, deployments to Patterson AAF OH and Twelfth Air Force)

Aug 1946 - To 35th AAF Base Unit (Strategic Air Command), Bolling AAF

Mar 1948 - To 16th Special Air Missions Squadron (Bolling Field Command),
Bolling AFB DC

Sep 1948 - To 18th Maintenance and Support Group (Far East Air Forces), Clark
AB Philippines

Oct 1948 - To 1134th Special Air Missions Detachment (HQ US Air Force),
Nanking AB China

Jan 1949 - To 18th Maintenance and Support Group (FEAF), Clark AB (to VB-17G)

Jul 1949 - To 1130th Special Air Missions Group (HQ USAF), Nanking AB

Sep 1949 - To Middletown Air Materiel Area, Olmstead AFB PA (to CB-17G)

Nov 1949 - To 1130th Special Air Missions Group (HQ USAF), Ottawa AP Canada

Apr 1950 - To VB-17G

Sep 1953 - To Middletown Air Materiel Area, Olmstead AFB

Nov 1953 - To 3510th Flying Training Wing (Air Training Command), Randolph
AFB TX

Sep 1956 - To 3040th Aircraft Storage Squadron (Air Materiel Command),
Davis-Monthan AFB AZ

Jun 1957 - Dropped from inventory by transfer to Mutual Defense Assistance
Program