The B-17G was the result of an almost continuous improvement program of earlier B-17 models. The -G model was basically the production version of the B-17F after the modifications and improvements were incorporated into the design. Although the Bendix chin turret is the most obvious improvement incorporated into the B-17G, it was actually first used on late model B-17Fs.
In the Pacific, the planes earned a deadly reputation with the Japanese, who dubbed them "four-engine fighters." The Fortresses were also legendary for their ability to stay in the air after taking brutal poundings. They sometimes limped back to their bases with large chunks of the fuselage shot off.
The B-17G was the result of an almost continuous improvement program of earlier B-17 models. The G model was basically the production version of the B-17F after the modifications and improvements were incorporated into the design. Although the Bendix chin turret is the most obvious improvement incorporated into the B-17G, it was actually first used on late model B-17Fs. More than 8,500 Gs were built by three different manufacturers: Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed-Vega. More than 12,500 B-17s of all types were built before production ended. The museum has one of the few B-17Gs remaining that actually flew in combat. The B-17G-35-BO, S/N 42-32076, "Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby" flew 24 combat missions with the 91st Bomb Group before landing in Sweden with engine trouble on May 29, 1944. The aircraft and crew were interned in neutral Sweden for the duration of World War II.
Starting in 1943 and continuing after the end of World War II, some B-17Gs were converted for second line duties. The majority of the modified aircraft were made into transport variants. The CB-17G was initially designed as a troop transport capable of carrying up to 64 troops. The VB-17G was a VIP transport for high level staff officers. The SB-17G, initially designated B-17H, was modified for use as a rescue aircraft. The RB-17G, initially designated F-9C, was a reconnaissance variant. A few aircraft were converted for use as drone directors and designated DB-17G. The most unusual conversions were three B-17Gs converted to engine test beds. The nose section was removed and replaced with a strengthened mount for a fifth engine. The Pratt & Whitney XT-34, Wright XT-35, Wright R-3350 and Allison T-56 engines were all flight tested on JB-17Gs.
In March 1944 one B-17G was assigned to the 91st Bomb Group -- "The Ragged Irregulars" -- and based at Bassingbourn, England. There its crew named it Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby, after a popular song. 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 Shoo Baby was found abandoned in France, and the French government presented the airplane to the U.S. Air Force. In July 1978 the 512th Military Airlift Wing moved it to Dover Air Force Base, Del., for restoration by the volunteers of the 512th Antique Restoration Group. After a massive 10-year job of restoration to flying condition, the aircraft was flown to the museum in October 1988.
|Span||103 ft. 9 in.|
|Length||74 ft. 9 in.|
|Height||19 ft. 1 in.|
|Weight||65,500 lbs. gross weight (actual - normal load)|
|Armament||12 .50-cal. machine guns and 8,000 lbs. of bombs|
|Engines||Four Wright R-1820-97 turbo-supercharged radials of 1200 hp each|
|Maximum speed||302 mph at 25,000 ft.|
|Cruising speed||160 mph|
|Service ceiling||35,600 ft.|
|Range||3,400 miles (maximum ferry range)|
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