B-17-1

1945 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

Upon the entry of the U.S. into World War II, the B-17 Flying Fortress played a vital role in the bombardment of Germany. Flying out of American bases in England, as many as a thousand B-17 aircraft at a time were staged and deployed in daring daylight raids.

Designed in 1934, the Boeing B-17 was the first bomber to use four engines. When the first prototype rolled out in 1935, one newsman—seeing all of the guns protruding from everywhere—called it a “Flying Fortress.” The name forever stuck.

In the earliest days of the war, the long distance bombers flew steadfast to their targets, even when their fighter defense had to turn back for fuel, which required the bombers to operate in tight formation for protection—and resulted in a loss rate up to 25%. Even so, enemy fighters attacked the legendarily durable B-17 knowing that thirteen .50 caliber guns awaited them.

Eventually, the development of the long-range P-51 Mustang granted the Flying Fortress a mean escort at its side, allowing the bombers to deliver their payloads with greater safety to the crews and truly turn the tide of the war in Europe. This famous aircraft has justifiably achieved its enduring mythical status as a tough bird that couldn’t be beat.

On display courtesy of the World’s Greatest Aircraft Collection

Specifications

  • Year Built — 1945
  • Wingspan — 104′
  • Cruise Speed — 150 mph
  • Top Speed — 287 mph
  • Gross Weight — 65,000 lbs
  • Engine — Four Wright 1820 (1200 hp)

Kermit’s Comments

When you walk through the Flying Fortress that is part of Fantasy of Flight’s Immersion Experience display, the sounds you hear were recorded were recorded inside a genuine flying B-17. There are four separate sound tracks as you walk through the aircraft, and each of these was recorded in each actual location of a flying aircraft. With the sound vibrating the fuselage, you get a very real sense of what it is like to fly in a real B-17. Many a B-17 veteran has come out of this display with a tear in his eye.