The Pink Lady (aircraft)
The Pink Lady is the nickname of a B-17G Flying Fortress bomber. It is one of the few B-17s still in flying condition, and until retirement early in 2010, was the only flying survivor to have seen action in Europe during World War II.
Rolled out of the Lockheed-Vega production facility in Burbank, California in December, 1944, The Pink Lady was then only known as a B-17G-85-VE Fortress, serial number 44-8846. On March 1, 1945, 44-8846 was flown to RAF Polebrook, England, and assigned to the 511th Bomb Squadron, 351st Bomb Group. Since she entered active service so close to the end of the war, 44-8846 only flew six missions over Germany, the last one on April 20, 1945, when the 351st ended combat operations. She was transferred to the 365th Bomb Squadron, 305th Bomb Group, based at RAF Chelveston, England, when the rest of the 351st returned to the United States.
She was featured as the fictional B-17F Mother and Country, in addition to The Pink Lady, in the film, Memphis Belle, painted on one side to resemble the older B-17F. The Pink Lady was kept at Paris - Orly Airport, France, just to the south of Paris, until its hangar was listed for demolition. In October 2006 she was stored for winter 2006-2007 in a hangar in St Yan, (Saône et Loire), France. After, she was based at Melun Villaroche (LFPM), south-est of Paris, where some Dassault (Mirage, Mystère or Balzac) have made their first flight in the 80's. She have made some meeting like at Melun in 2008 or Paris Air Show in 2009. Her last flight from Melun Villaroche (LFPM) (her last base before retirement) to Cerny-La Ferté Alais (LFFQ) (the airfield of Amicale Jean-Baptiste Salis) was on March 2010. She is inside a new hangar since 29 October 2011, and she will wait some years before flying again.
Painting schemes and registration numbers
Below is a non-exhaustive chronological list of the Pink Lady's painting schemes and registration numbers from 1945–2006:
Entire Aircraft: Unpainted Aluminum
1945: s/n 48846 on tail
1945, March: white J in black Triangle 48846 M on tail (with red diagonal stripe), DS : M on fuselage, M on nose turret
1945, May: white G in black Triangle 48846 XK: M on fuselage
1954: Institut Geographique National logo on tail, F-BGSP on fuselage
1965: IGN, registered as ZS-DXM
1985: 48846 on tail, F-AZDX on fuselage, "Lucky Lady" artwork added to nose for air-show tour
Entire Aircraft: Olive Drab upper surfaces, light gray lower surfaces
1989: Officially registered as F-AZDX, was painted for the movie Memphis Belle as:
- Left side: 28703 (25703?) on tail, DF-S on fuselage, "Mother and Country" on nose
- Right side: 122960 on tail, G-DF on fuselage, "The Pink Lady" artwork on nose
1993: large text below pilot and co-pilot side windows:
- B 17
- On right-hand side, 5 yellow bombs painted after the word "FAURE", under which there were 2 swastikas
1998: 22955 on tail, F-AZDX on fuselage, "Mother and country" artwork on nose
2002: Triangle-J 48846 M on tail (with red stripe as per 351st Bomb Group markings), M-DS on fuselage (nose turret removed)
- Left side: "The Pink Lady" artwork, and 846 on nose
- 6 yellow bombs painted below pilot's side window
- Blue number "7"
- TEXT (black stencil):
- U.S. ARMY-MODEL B-17G-85-VE
- AIR FORCES SERIAL NO. 44-8846
- CREW WEIGHT 1200 LBS
- (+ 5 lines of smaller text)
- Right side: "Mother and Country", and "The Pink Lady" artwork on nose
- Top left wing: Star
- Right Bottom wing: Star
The current paint job does not have "The Pink Lady" artwork on right nose, but is otherwise like its 2002 configuration.
This aircraft was present at "The Flying Legends" (Duxford, UK) air display on 12 & 13 July 2008. The "Mother and Country", and "The Pink Lady" artwork was present on the right side nose area.
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