Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

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B-17 Flying Fortress
A B-17G performing at the 2014 Chino Airshow
Role Heavy bomber
National origin United States
Manufacturer Boeing
First flight July 28, 1935; 88 years ago (1935-07-28)
Introduction April 1938; 86 years ago (1938-04)
Retired 1968 (Brazilian Air Force)
Primary users United States Army Air Forces
Royal Air Force
Produced 1936–1945
Number built 12,731[1]
Unit cost
  • US$238,329 (1945)
  • US$2.8 million (in 2020 dollars)[2]
Developed into Boeing 307 Stratoliner

The Boeing 17 Flying Fortress was a heavy bomber, that was used by the United States Strategic Air Force during World War II. It first flew in 1935, and was introduced in 1938. It had a shorter range, and a smaller bomb load, than its sister bomber the B-24 Liberator, but it had more defensive armament. It dropped large amounts of bombs during air raids against Germany, such as the raid on Dresden. The B-17 was also used in the Pacific, including the Battle of Midway. The Flying Fortress had its name for a good reason, it could survive the hits and was able to fly while under enemy fire. The B-17 was a heavy bomber plane that carried 2 tons of bombs. The reason why few B-17's survived WWII was because lack of escort by allied fighters and enemy fire. Later in WWII, the U.S. increased escort fighters for the bombers giving more protection. The escort fights flew until the end of WWII.

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was a large American aircraft, and arguably one of the most successful or dangerous bombers. These 4-propeller destroyers could carry well over 10,000 pounds of bombs, and can travel hundreds of miles without refuelling. Similar to other long-range bombers, the B-17 was armed with plenty of small turrets to cover all angles from anti-air. Flocks of these massive aircraft with escorts would be spotted from kilometres out, making them a large target for enemy Flak.

Technical data (Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress)[change | change source]

Data Units
Years of production 1935-1945
Manufacturer Boeing
Wingspan 31,62 m
Length 22,66 m
Hight 5,82 m
Wing area 131,92 m²
Weight (empty) 16.391 kg
Max takeoff weight 29.710 kg
Crew 9
Speed 462km/h
Service ceiling 10.800 m
Range 3.220 km
Powerplant 4x Wright-R-1820-97 Cyclone
Power 4x 895 kW (1.217 HP)
Weapons 8 T bombs and 13* machine guns 12.7mm

References[change | change source]

  1. Angelucci and Matricardi 1988, p. 46.
  2. Inflated values automatically calculated.