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Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress


The B-17 was the first truly modern heavy bomber and one of the most recognized airplanes ever built. It was the first four-engine bomber put into production for the Army Air Corps but gained its greatest fame for daylight strategic bombings over Europe. On August 20, 1935, the prototype was flown to Wright Field for its official tests, flying 2,100 miles nonstop in nine hours, but the prototype crashed on October 30, when a gust lock was inadvertently left on the elevators and the airplane went out of control on takeoff. The first airplanes were delivered to the 2d Bomb Group at Langley Field, Va., in 1937. In December 1941, Maj. Truman H. Landon led a flight of unarmed B-17s to reinforce Hawaii. The planes were nearly out of gas as they landed at Wheeler Field in the middle of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Subsequently, B-17 production ramped up quickly, and the aircraft was used in great numbers in every theater of the war. On January 27, 1943, Eighth Air Force B-17 crews made the first American air raid on Germany. The B-17G, the most produced version, featured additional guns in an attempt to prevent some of the heavy losses that had been inflicted on the earlier models. One of the more unusual modifications was the conversion of at least 25 war-weary B-17s into BQ-7 Aphrodite radio-controlled missiles, which were loaded with 12,000 lbs of high explosives and used against the German U-boat pens. B-17s were used by the Navy and the Army Air Forces for sea-air rescue. While the B-17 was essential to winning the war, the type was obsolete by 1945 and disappeared almost overnight, although a few remained in service for several years.
General characteristics B-17G
Primary function Heavy bomber
Contractor Boeing Airplane Company
Next builders Vega Aircraft Corp., Douglas Aircraft Comp.
Power plant Four Wright R-1820-97 Cyclone nine-cylinder radials with exhaust-driven supercharger engines
Thrust 4x 1,200 HP 4x 895 kW
Wingspan 103.7 ft 31.62 m
Length 74.3 ft 22.66 m
Height 19.1 ft 5.82 m
Wingarea 1,420 sq ft 131.92 sq m
Weight empty 36,136 lb 16,391 kg
max. 65,500 lb 29,710 kg
Speed max. 287 mph 462 km/h
cruising 182 mph 293 km
Ceiling 35,600 ft 10,850 m
Range max. 3,160 miles 5,085 km
full load 1,094 miles 1,760 km
Armament 13x 12.7mm machine gun, up to 5,800 kg bombs
Crew Twelve
First Flight July 28, 1935
Date deployed 1943
Cost $238,329
Number built 12,731


Jirka Wagner

 

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Last updated 01.01.2017