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Posted on Dec 30, 2004 in War College

Profile: Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress

By Austin Vance


Span:  103 ft 10 in   
Length:  74 ft  4 in 
Height:  19 ft 1 in     
Weight:  55,000-lbs Loaded     
Armament:  Up to 13 x 0.50 machine guns in chin, cheek, turret, radio room, ball, waist, and tail positions; normal bomb load as other models but absolute maximum of 12,800-lbs (5,800 kg) 
Engine:  Four Wright "Cyclone" R-1820s of 1,200 hp. each.  
Cost:  $276,000


Maximum speed:  300 mph 
Cruising speed:  170 mph    
Range:  1,850 miles   
Service Ceiling:  35,000 ft

The Story:

The Flying Fortress is one of the most famous airplanes ever built. The B-17 prototype first flew on July 28, 1935. Few B-17s were in service on December 7, 1941, but production quickly accelerated. The aircraft served in every World War II combat zone, but is best known for daylight strategic bombing of German industrial targets. Production ended in May 1945 and totaled 12,726.
In March 1944 this B-17G was assigned to the 91st Bomb Group "The Ragged Irregulars" and based at Bassingbourn, England. There it was named Shoo Shoo Baby by its crew, after a popular song. It was later renamed "Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby" after another pilot replaced the original aircraft commander. It flew 24 combat missions in WWII, receiving flak damage seven times. Its first mission (Frankfurt, Germany) was on March 24, 1944, and last mission (Posen, Poland) on May 29, 1944, when engine problems forced a landing in neutral Sweden where the airplane and crew were interned. In 1968, Shoo Shoo Baby was found abandoned in France; the French government presented the airplane to the USAF. In July 1978, the 512th Military Airlift Wing moved it to Dover AFB, Delaware, for restoration by the volunteers of the 512th Antique Restoration Group. The massive 10-year job of restoration to flying condition was completed in 1988 and the aircraft was flown to the Museum in October 1988.