B-17 Flying Fortress - Iconic American heavy bomber.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.
B17 bomber being restored to its former glory in Mefford Field at Tulare
A small army of volunteers have descended outside of Tulare on a mission to restore and bring a piece of history back to glory: “Preston’s Pride,” a World War II-era Boeing B-17 bomber that has sat along Highway 99 for decades. Thundering four-engine heavy bombers, the B-17 aircraft was known as the fabled “Flying Fortress.” They quickly became an icon of World War II, gaining a steadfast reputation for their reliability, endurance and staggering offensive resilience in battle. World War II General Carl Spaatz once said “Without the B-17 we may have lost the war.”
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In photographs: A restored B-17 bomber called Aluminum Overcast
In photographs: Restored B-17G-VE operated by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).
B17: The toughest plane ever built - Photos of damaged B17 bombers
B-17 Flying Fortress bomber: The toughest plane ever built? Take a look at these pictures of damaged B17 bombers.
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress celebrates 75th anniversary in 2011
It's called the "Flying Fortress" and there's good reason for the nickname. The rock solid B-17 bomber - designed by Boeing Company and built under license by Vega Aircraft Co. (now Lockheed) - had a big role in the Second World War.
Colonel Harold "Hal" Weekley, who flew the B-17 as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces, said its durability made the renowned bomber plane special: "It's a fine plane and could sustain a lot of damage. At the time, it was the biggest airplane in the world. It played a big part in us winning the war."
Famous B17 factory "Boeing's Plant 2" - the building that won WWII - to be demolished (photo gallery)
Rosie the Riveter was made famous here. Boeing learned how to build airplanes here. This factory produced 12 B-17's a day during the height of the Second World War. "It's fair to say that Boeing's Plant 2 is the building that won World War II," stated Leonard Garfield, the executive director of Seattle's Museum of Science and Industry. The B-17, the B-29, the B-52, and the precursor of the 737 were built inside the plant that is located along the Duwamish River. Plant 2 was so crucial to the war effort that Boeing set up a fake city on the roof to hide its location. (Article includes photo gallery, 14 pics)
B17 Flying Fortress salvaged from a grassy Papua New Guinea swamp (Article no longer available from the original source)
It took Alfred "Fred" Hagen - an aircraft enthusiast - 3 years and 8 months to salvage the B-17E Flying Fortress ("Swamp Ghost") from a grassy Papua New Guinea swamp. Now it's onto a ship bound for New Zealand and eventually for the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Ariz. On Feb. 23, 1942, the B-17 took off from Australia to bomb Rabaul, a Japanese-held port. After the mission the Flying Fortress didn't have enough fuel to climb over the Owen Stanley Mountains. The pilot landed the plane in what looked like a grassy field, but the crew found itself in 4 feet of water amid 6-foot-high kunai grass.
Book review: "Memphis Belle - Dispelling the Myths" by Harry Friedman, Graham Simons
Harry Friedman and historian Graham Simons are setting the record straight about the Memphis Belle B-17 Flying Fortress. One of the biggest myths started when the famous WW2 bomber traveled back to the US in 1943 for a war bond tour. "When the plane first landed... the Air Force chief of staff ... started the myths by saying it was the first airplane to finish 25 missions and bring the same crew back that went over with it. Neither one of those were true." The book concludes that the Belle, with its national tour and film of its exploits, promoted American support for the air war and was the most important aircraft of World War II.
B17 bomber lands on English soil for the first time since World War II [pics]
They were known as the Flying Fortresses and they had an essential role in the defeat of the Third Reich. B-17 bombers delivered a third of all the 1.5m tons of bombs dropped on Nazi Germany by United States. Recently one of the iconic aircraft became the first to complete the 8,000-mile flight from U.S. soil since the end of World War II. The Liberty Belle landed at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, flown by Don Brooks, son of a tail gunner who flew 34 WWII missions. The Liberty Belle, one of a handful of B-17s still flying, completed a route that was used by the bombers during wartime.
85-year-old William Lyon piloting a B-17 from John Wayne to D.C.
It has no radar. No bathroom. No heat. Just 33,000 pounds of flying metal – perfect for a man known as "The General." At 8 a.m. William Lyon will fire up one of the few working B-17s left in the world and point it toward D.C. for a 2-day flight. Any danger in that? "Well, it has 4 engines, so if one shuts down, it's not a big problem. And I'm taking my chief mechanic and a lot of spare parts," says Maj. Gen. William Lyon. He regularly flies several vintage planes: a B-17, a B-25 bomber, a B-26 bomber and two C-47 transport planes – the stable of his future aviation museum at Martin Aviation.
A Flying Fortress B-17 Pilot's World War II Diary - excerpts
July 17, 1943, Target: Hanover. About 45 enemy fighters ... started the old cat and mouse game. Me being the mouse. For a few seconds, I was fascinated watching them come plunging at us from all directions... When we were down to about 12,000 feet the ground batteries filled the air with flak. I mean it was so thick that you could get out and walk on it. Well a burst hit under the left wing and blew the whole gas tank right out through the top. Another hit my #2 engine ... and shattered the glass window near my head. Things were so serious that it was really funny. I looked over at my co-pilot and winked at him and he grinned right back.
US team finds World War II B-17 bombers, P-47 fighter off Corsica
A US military team searching for the remains of American WW2 soldiers has discovered the wreckage of two B-17 bombers and a P-47 fighter plane off the coast of Corsica. The 13-man team led by Captain George Mitroka conducted 7 days of marine searches equipped with sonars, radars, cameras and video equipment. A B-17 bomber that crashed off the coast of Calvi in Feb 1944 after a missed landing was found at a site known to local divers. A second one was discovered near Ajaccio airport at a depth of 12 metres. The P-47 fighter plane was discovered off the coast of Bastia after a diver provided the US team with the exact GPS coordinates of the wreckage.
Bombardier journal from B-17 Flying Fortress
Shrapnel from Nazi bombs and bullets riddled Sgt. Charles Campbell's B-17 over Linz. Campbell just dropped bombs, but "flying fortress" wasn't fast enough to escape the revenge. The plane burst into flames. Unable to make it to a hatch he dove out a hole torn in the aircraft. The last thing he saw was radio operator's parachute in shreds. He hit the ground and was surrounded. He knew by their uniforms that they were Storm Troopers, Hitler's elite army. "I sneaked a look and saw the SS Troopers, burp machine guns at the ready." Then some Luftwaffe officers came. They felt camaraderie among fliers, and when they could they spared the lives of airmen.
Hit the silk: Tail gunner's harrowing story of B-17 combat
Nelson B. Brode Jr. was a tail gunner on a B-17 bomber in his 26th mission. The crew was to bomb the Japanese base of Gasmata and take some photos. As the plane closed in on its target: "The ack-ack and pom-poms were filling the sky around us." The plane jerked violently and turned up on one wing. A side gunner reported a large hole in the wing. The plane dived and the electrical system stopped working, but then the Flying Fortress leveled out. 10 minutes later, Brode saw 12 Japanese fighters. The Zeros formed into 3 groups of four planes, and they attacked the B-17 in waves, riddling it with bullets...