The Flying Fortress is one of the most famous airplanes ever built. The B-17 prototype first flew on July 28, 1935.  Although few B-17s were in service on Dec. 7, 1941, production quickly accelerated after the U.S. entry into World War II.  The aircraft served in every combat zone, but it is best known for the daylight strategic bombing of German industrial targets.  Production ended in May 1945 and totaled 12,726.

B-17G serial number 44-83690 is a representative G-series B-17.  The aircraft was delivered to the USAAF on May 9, 1945.  First assignment was to Patterson AFB, Ohio, where it was put into storage.  In November 1945, it was assigned to South Plains Field, Texas.  In June 1947 it was transferred to Pyote Field, Texas.

In July 1950, 44-83690 was fitted with special drone control equipment and re-designated DB-17G.  Conversion of the plane was accomplished at Olmsted AFB, Middletown Air Depot, Pennsylvania.  She was transferred to the 3200 Drone Squadron at Eglin AFB, Florida.  In February 1951 the aircraft was dispatched to Kwajalein, Eniwetok, in the Marshall Islands as part of the 3200 Proof Test Wing to participate in Operation Greenhouse, a series of nuclear tests for the Atomic Energy Commission.  The aircraft was transferred to Patrick AFB, Florida in May of 1951.  Additional drone equipment was installed in 1955, and 44-83690 was re-designated DB-17P.  From 1956 to 1959, it was part of the 325th Drone Squadron, Missile Test Center, Patrick AFB.

One of the last active military B-17s, 44-83690 was removed from the official Air Force inventory in August 1960.  Her last flight was to Grissom AFB (then known as Bunker Hill) for permanent display in 1961.  In 2015 the aircraft was moved to the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB, Georgia and is currently undergoing a lengthy restoration.

  • Span: 103 ft. 10 in.
  • Length: 74 ft. 4 in.
  • Height: 19 ft. 1 in.
  • Weight: 55,000 lbs. loaded
  • Armament: Thirteen .50-cal. machine guns; normal bomb load of 6,000 lbs.
  • Engines: Four Wright Cyclone R-1820s of 1,200 hp. each
  • Serial Number: 44-83690
  • Maximum speed: 300 mph.
  • Cruising speed: 170 mph.
  • Range: 1,850 miles
  • Service ceiling: 35,000 ft.