Up-Close Aircraft Days

March Field Air Museum is proud to launch an interactive and new program for guests titled “Up-Close Aircraft Days.” Beginning on Saturday, January 13, 2018, and continuing every second Saturday, a different aircraft will be featured each month. Guests will have the opportunity for a close look – sometimes climbing stairs to get a close-up view into the cargo bay or cockpit, other times even climbing aboard. The new “Up-Close Aircraft Days” will take place every second Saturday at the museum, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., throughout 2018. This special activity is included with regular museum admission.

Saturday, February 10

On Saturday, February 10, one of the iconic bombers of World War II – a B-17 Flying Fortress recently restored to its shiny WWII aluminum appearance – will be the center of attention for “Up-Close Aircraft Day” at the March Field Air Museum. 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.

 

Manufactured in Long Beach, California, the museum's B-17G 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. 

 

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.