Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

 

1st Flight 1935

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engine heavy bomber developed in the 1930s for the United States Army Air Corps.

Competing against Douglas and Martin for a contract to build 200 bombers, the Boeing entry (prototype Model 299/XB-17) outperformed both competitors and exceeded the Air Corps’ performance specifications.

Although Boeing lost the contract (to the Douglas B-18 Bolo) because the prototype crashed, the Air Corps ordered 13 more B-17s for further evaluation.

From its introduction in 1938, the B-17 Flying Fortress evolved through numerous design advances, becoming the third-most produced bomber of all time, behind the four-engine Consolidated B-24 Liberator and the multirole, twin-engine Junkers Ju 88.

Variants

Boeing Model 299 (XB-17), Y1B-17 (YB-17), B-17A (Y1B-17A), B-17B, B-17C, B-17D, B-17E, B-17F.

B-17G & Variants

CB-17G: Troop transport version, capable of carrying 64 troops. (44-6975; 44-83373)

DB-17G: Drone variant

JB-17G: Engine test-bed (44-85813; 44-85734)

MB-17G: Missile launcher

QB-17L: Target drone

QB-17N: Target drone

RB-17G: Reconnaissance variant

SB-17G: Rescue version, later redesignated B-17H: Featured A-1 lifeboat under fuselage.

After World War II, armament on the B-17Hs was removed; it was reinstated when the Korean War began.

TB-17G: Special duty training version

VB-17G: VIP transport

PB-1: This designation was given to one B-17F and one B-17G. They were used by the U.S. Navy for various test projects.

PB-1G: This designation was given to 17 B-17Gs used by U.S. Coast Guard as air-sea rescue aircraft.

PB-1W: This designation was given to 31 B-17Gs used by the U.S. Navy as the first airborne early warning aircraft (AWACS).

Fortress III

XB-38, YB-40, C-108 Flying Fortress, F-9 Flying Fortress, BQ-7 Aphrodite.

Specifications

Crew: 10

Length: 74 ft 4 in (22.66 m)

Wingspan: 103 ft 9 in (31.62 m)

Height: 19 ft 1 in (5.82 m)

Wing area: 1,420 sq ft (131.92 m2)

Airfoil: NACA 0018 / NACA 0010

Empty weight: 36,135 lb (16,391 kg)

Gross weight: 54,000 lb (24,500 kg)

Max take-off weight: 65,500 lb (29,700 kg)

Aspect ratio: 7.57

Powerplant: 4 × Wright R-1820-97 “Cyclone” turbo supercharged radial engines, 1,200 hp (895 kW) each

Propellers: 3-bladed Hamilton-Standard constant-speed propeller

Performance

Maximum speed: 287 mph (462 km/h, 249 kn)

Cruise speed: 182 mph (293 km/h, 158 kn)

Range: 2,000 mi (3,219 km, 1,738 nmi) with 6,000 lb (2,700 kg) bomb load

Ferry range: 3,750 mi (6,040 km, 3,260 nmi)

Service ceiling: 35,600 ft (10,850 m)

Rate of climb: 900 ft/min (4.6 m/s)

Wing loading: 38.0 lb/sq ft (185.7 kg/m2)

Power/mass: 0.089 hp/lb (150 W/kg)

Armament

Guns: 13 × .50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns in 9 positions (2 in the Bendix chin turret, 2 on nose cheeks, 2 staggered waist guns, 2 in upper Sperry turret, 2 in Sperry ball turret in belly, 2 in the tail and one firing upwards from radio compartment behind bomb bay)

Bombs:

Short range missions (<400 mi): 8,000 lb (3,600 kg)

Long range missions (≈800 mi): 4,500 lb (2,000 kg)

Overload: 17,600 lb (7,800 kg).

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