List of surviving Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses

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The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is an American four-engine heavy bomber used by the United States Army Air Forces and other Allied air forces during World War II. Of the 12,731 aircraft built, approximately 4,735 were lost during the War. Those that had flown in combat missions and survived the War were subsequently sent to boneyards, such as those at Walnut Ridge and Kingman, for smelting. Consequently, only five planes that survive today – 40-3097, 41-2446, 41-24485, 42-32076, and 44-8846 – claim combat provenance. The majority of survivors are planes that were built too late to see active service were then were used through the 1950s and 1960s in both military and civilian contexts. Many surviving examples are painted to represent actual planes that flew in combat. Today, 47 planes survive in complete form, 11 of which are airworthy, and 40 of which reside in the United States.

Surviving planes by production location[edit]

Plant Number produced Number surviving
Boeing Seattle (BO) 6,981 9
Douglas Long Beach (DL) 3,000 24
Vega Burbank (VE) 2,750 14

Surviving aircraft[edit]

Serial Geographic location Institutional location Status History Photo
40-3097 United States Dayton, Ohio National Museum of the United States Air Force under restoration for display Built at Boeing Seattle in 1940 as B-17D. Sent to Hawaii in May 1941. Moved to the Philippines that September where she was known as "Ole Betsy." Used in combat in December 1941 and January 1942. In January 1942 sent to Australia for repairs. At this time given the name "The Swoose." Subsequently used as a transport plane for George Brett and others. After the War sent to Kingman, Arizona for scrapping. In April 1946 Frank Kurtz recovered the plane, flying her to Los Angeles. Donated in 1949 to National Air Museum in Washington. Stored outside at Andrews AFB until 1961. Moved indoors in mid-1970s. In July 2008 sent to Dayton. Was under restoration, however, restoration was suspended in order to complete work on 41-24485 "Memphis Belle."[1] Boeing B-17D-BO Flying Fortress 40-3097 The Swoose LNose Restoration NMUSAF 25Sep09 (14598429154).jpg
41-2446 United States Ford Island, Hawaii Pacific Aviation Museum under restoration for display Built at Boeing Seattle as B-17E. Delivered to USAAF 6 December 1941. Armament installed at Sacramento Air Depot. Flown to Hawaii 17 December. Attached to USN as search plane. Joined USAAF 19th Bombardment Group in Australia 20 February 1942. During 22 February raid on Simpson Harbor, ditched following attack due to fuel shortage. All crew members survived. Wreck discovered in 1972 by RAAF helicopter pilot. Featured in March 1992 issue of National Geographic. Acquired the nickname "Swamp Ghost." Recovered in May 2006. Wreckage impounded at Lae. Shipped in January 2010 to Long Beach. Transferred to Hawaii in 2013.[2] Swamp Ghost at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.jpg
41-2595 United States Marengo, Illinois Private (Michael W. Kellner) under restoration to airworthiness Built at Boeing Seattle as B-17E. Named "Desert Rat" by her crew. Used as cargo plane. Discovered in a Maine scrapyard in 1985. Under restoration by the Vintage Aviation Museum.[3]
41-9032 United States New Orleans, Louisiana National World War II Museum display Built at Boeing Seattle as B-17E. Assigned to 342nd Bomb Squadron and named "My Gal Sal." During a ferry flight on 27 June 1942, crash landed in Greenland. All crew members survived and were rescued ten days later. Wreck discovered in 1964. Salvaged in the 1990s by Gary Larkins and stored at Tillamook Air Museum. Purchased by Bob Ready. Restoration began in 2000; later placed on display at Cincinnati-Blue Ash Airport. In 2013 transported to National World War II Museum for display.[4] My Gal Sal at National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA.jpg
41-9210 United States Everett, Washington Flying Heritage Collection in storage but registered with FAA[5] Built at Boeing Seattle as B-17E. Sold immediately after production on the civilian market in 1943 to a Canadian airline. Sold to a Bolivian airline, crashed. Restored to airworthiness in 1976. Brought back to US in 1990. Purchased in 1999 and now in storage.
41-24485 United States Dayton, Ohio National Museum of the United States Air Force display Built at Boeing Seattle as B-17F. Taken on strength 15 July 1942. Assigned to 324th Bomb Squadron at RAF Bassingbourn 14 October. Named "Memphis Belle" after Captain Robert K. Morgan's girlfriend Margaret Polk, a resident of Memphis, Tennessee. Between 7 November 1942 and 19 May 1943 flew 25 combat missions with the 324th Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group. Returned to US 8 June and flew 31-city bond tour. Purchased by City of Memphis by the efforts of Mayor Walter Chandler. Stored until 1949 when she was placed on display at armoury. Gifted to USAF in early 1970s and moved to Mud Island in 1987. In 2003 moved to restoration at Naval Air Station Memphis. Moved to Dayton in October 2005, and subsequently underwent full restoration. Appears as it did in late May 1943.[6] B17 Memphis Belle fully restored
42-3374 United States Omaha, Nebraska Offutt AFB display Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17F. Did not go overseas. Sat at Chino Airport Museum. Restored at Beale AFB in 1988. Wears livery of 42-30230 "Homesick Angel."
42-29782 United States Seattle, Washington Museum of Flight display but registered with FAA[7] Built at Boeing Seattle as B-17F. Modified in Wyoming and subsequently used by training units at Blythe Field and McClellan Field. Shipped to England in January 1944, but did not fly combat missions. Returned stateside three months later. On 5 November 1945 shipped to Altus, Oklahoma for disposal, but withdrawn in 1946 and shipped to Stuttgart, Arkansas for display. Used 1968-1985 was water bomber and air tanker. Acquired in 1988 by Museum of flight. Restored 1991-98 by Boeing and given the name "Boeing Bee."[8] B-17F of Museum of Flight.jpg
42-32076 United States Dayton, Ohio National Museum of the United States Air Force in storage Built at Boeing Seattle as B-17G. In March 1944 assigned to 91st Bomb Group at RAF Bassingbourn. Named "Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby." Flew 24 combat missions between 24 March and 29 May. On final mission, force landed in Sweden. Crew members were interned. Found abandoned in France in 1968. Gifted by French Government to United States. Sent to Dover AFB for restoration. After ten year restoration, flown to Dayton in 1988. Placed in storage in 2018, awaiting transfer to National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.[9] ShooShoo.jpg
43-38635 United States Atwater, California Castle Air Museum display Built at Boeing Seattle as B-17G. Wears livery of 42-3352 "Virgin's Delight." of 410th Bomb Squadron, which was shot down in North Sea 29 November 1943.[10] Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress ‘38635 - N - A’ “Virgin’s Delight” (N3702G) (29904058935).jpg
44-6393 United States Riverside, California March Field Air Museum display Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Named "Starduster."[11] Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress ’44-6393’ “Starduster” (26948137531).jpg
44-8543 United States Madras, Oregon Erickson Aircraft Collection airworthy[12] Built at Vega Burbank as B-17G. Named "Madras Maiden."[13] Madras Maiden.jpg
44-8846 France Paris Forteresse Toujours Volante airworthy Built at Vega Burbank as B-17G. Flown to RAF Polebrook 1 March 1944 and assigned to 511th Bomb Squadron. Flew six missions. Sold in 1954 to Institut géographique national and used until 1985. Purchased by Forteresse Toujours Volante in 1988. Wears livery of 44-8846 "Pink Lady." B-17G Flying Fortress "The Pink Lady" - AJBS - 1.jpg
44-8889 France Paris Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace in storage Built at Vega Burbank as B-17G. Sold in 1954 to Institut géographique national. Retired to museum in 1976.
44-83512 United States San Antonio, Texas Lackland AFB display Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Wears livery of 42-97328 "Heaven's Above." Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress (299P), USA - Air Force AN1040319.jpg
44-83514 United States Mesa, Arizona Commemorative Air Force airworthy[14] Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Purchased in 1959 by Aero Union Corporation of Chico, California. Used as a water bomber until 1978. Donated to Arizona Wing of CAF in 1978. Following a competition, given the name "Sentimental Journey." Restored to wartime configuration in the early 1980s.[15] B-17 Sentimental Journey.jpg
44-83525 United States Polk City, Florida Fantasy of Flight in storage but registered with FAA[16] Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Converted to DB-17G in 1950. Struck off 1959. Purchased by Flying Tiger Air Museum in 1972. In 1977 she was used in the film MacArthur and painted to represent 41-2489 "Suzy Q" of the 93rd Bombardment Squadron. Purchased by Kermit Weekes in 1983 and restored to airworthy status. During Hurricane Andrew in August 1992, the plane was thrown from its hanger and severely damaged. Since that time it has been dismantled and held in storage.
44-83542 United States Polk City, Florida Fantasy of Flight display Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Sold to Aero Union Corporation and used as a water bomber. Crashed near Benson, Arizona 12 July 1971. Wears livery of 42-37994 "Piccadilly Princess."[17] Boeing B-17G-85-DL Flying Fortress Piccadilly Princess RNose FOF 27March2010 (14403970027).jpg
44-83546 United States Anaheim, California Military Aircraft Restoration Corp. airworthy[18] Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Put in storage at the end of the War. In 1948 was redesignated as a staff transport plane and used in Germany, and in Korea during the Korean War. Struck off in 1954. Converted to a water bomber in 1960. Restored in 1982 by Military Aircraft Restoration Corporation as a B-17F. Used in 1989 filming of Memphis Belle. Still wears livery of 41-24485 "Memphis Belle." Currently on loan to National Warplane Museum in Geneseo, New York. B-17 Memphis Belle (5921837039).jpg
44-83559 United States Ashland, Nebraska Strategic Air and Space Museum display Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Taken on strength 5 April 1945. Declared excess in October. Modified to drone in March 1950. Used as drone until May 1958. Issued as museum piece. Flown to museum in May 1959.[19] Formerly wore livery of 42-3474 "King Bee." 44-83559 Boeing B-17 Fortress U.S. Air Force (7519631714).jpg
44-83563 United States Santa Ana, California Lyon Air Museum airworthy[20] Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Taken on strength 7 April 1945. Used as transport plane in Philippines. Returned to U.S. in 1952, overhauled, and sent to Japan with 6000th Base Service Group. Returned to U.S. in 1955 and stricken off that June. Sold in August 1959 to American Compressed Steel. Used in the film The War Lover. Flown to Hawaii in 1969 and used in the film Tora! Tora! Tora! Sold to Globe Air in 1981 and used as air tanker. Sold in 2006 to Martin Aviation. Wears livery of 42-97400 "Fuddy Duddy."[21] B17G Flying Fortress - Chino Airshow 2014 (16536525344).jpg
44-83575 United States Stow, Massachusetts Collings Foundation airworthy[22] Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Served in 1st Rescue Squadron and Military Air Transport Service. In April 1952 subjected to effects of three nuclear explosions. Restored in 1965 by Aircraft Specialties Company. Served as water bomber until 1985. Sold in January 1986 to Collings Foundation. Right wing smashed off in August 1987. Wears livery of 42-31909 "Nine-O-Nine."[23] B-17G "Nine-O-Nine".jpg
44-83624 United States Dover, Delaware Air Mobility Command Museum display Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Sent to assigned to Patterson Field in April 1945. Declared excess that October, but returned to service in November. Later converted to a drone and used until June 1957. Wears the nose art and markings of 42-107112 "Sleepy Time Gal," which was part of the 381st Bombardment Group, although the real "Sleepy Time Gal" was an unpainted aluminium plane.[24] INTERIOR OF AIR MOBILITY COMMAND MUSEUM, DOVER, DELAWARE.jpg
44-83663 United States Roy, Utah Hill Aerospace Museum display Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Wears livery of "Short Bier" of the 493rd Bombardment Group.[25]
44-83684 United States Chino, California Planes of Fame Air Museum under restoration to airworthiness[26] Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G.[27] B-17 planes of fame-chino.jpg
44-83690 United States Warner Robins, Georgia Museum of Aviation under restoration for display Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Assigned to USAF Museum in 1961. Displayed at Grissom Air Museum first as "Flak Jacket," then as 44-8385 "Tarnished Angel," and finally as 42-31255 "Miss Liberty Belle." Sent to Museum of Aviation in 2015.[28] Grissom Air Museum B-17G "Flying Fortress" No. 44-83690 P9270540.jpg
44-83718 Brazil Rio de Janeiro Museu Aeroespacial in storage Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Served with 1061st Rescue Flight in Libya during 1948-1949. Returned to Hamilton AFB in 1950. Later sold to Brazilian Air Force. Dismantled and in storage.
44-83735 England Duxford, Cambridgeshire Imperial War Museum Duxford display Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Wears livery of 44-83735 "Mary Alice" of the 615th Bombardment Squadron. 238133 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress (9460522826).jpg
44-83785 United States Stow, Massachusetts Collings Foundation display but registered with FAA[29] Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Used in the final scene of Thunderball in 1965. Purchased by Collings Foundation in 2015.[30] B-17G at Evergreen Museum (6586605059).jpg
44-83790 United States Douglas, Georgia Private (Don Brooks) under restoration for display Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Crash landed on frozen Dyke Lake, Newfoundland and Labrador on 24 December 1947. Recovered in 2004. Under restoration at Brooks Aviation.
44-83814 United States Pooler, Georgia Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum under restoration for display Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Sold in 1951 to California Atlantic Airways. Spent most of 1950s and 1960s in Toronto as a photographic survey plane. Returned to United States in 1969 where she was restored at Spearfish, South Dakota using fuselage and wings of 41-2451 and nose and tail from 44-83812. After being displayed in various locations, transferred in 1984 to Smithsonian. Loaned in 2009 to Mighty Eight Museum and given the name "City of Savannah."[31] B-17 at Mighty 8th Air Force Museum, Pooler, GA, US.jpg
44-83863 United States Valparaiso, Florida Air Force Armament Museum display Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G.[32]
44-83868 England London Royal Air Force Museum London display Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Taken on strength 6 July 1945. Transferred to USN 14 July. Sent to NAS Johnsville for conversion. Struck off 10 July 1956. Sold to American Pressed Steel Corporation in December 1957. Changed hands multiple times after this. Traded to TBM Inc. in 1982 and restored to WW2 configuration with marking of 332nd Bombardment Squadron. Donated to RAF Museum by USAF.[33] Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress ‘483868 - N’ (N5237V) (33249478005).jpg
44-83872 United States Houston, Texas Commemorative Air Force airworthy[34] Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Transferred to the U.S. Navy in 1945 and fitted with large radome under chin to serve as PB-1W early AWACS-type aircraft (44-83872 was assigned U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics Number 77235). Retired from Navy service in 1955. Purchased by Aero Service Corporation in 1957 and used as an aerial surveying platform. Sold in 1961 to ACS Inc. and used for aerial photography. Purchased by the Commemorative Air Force in 1967 and given the name "Texas Raiders" during her 1960s restoration.[35] Boeing B-17G-95-DL Flying Fortress Texas Raiders 44-83872 N7227C BelowLWing Dawn SNF 04April2014 (14585615212).jpg
44-83884 United States Bossier City, Louisiana Barksdale Global Power Museum display Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Penultimate Douglas B-17. Barksdale Global Power Museum September 2015 09 (Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress).jpg
44-85599 United States Abilene, Texas Dyess AFB display Built at Vega Burbank as B-17G. Moved to Dyess AFB in 1974 for display. Wears livery of 42-38133 "Reluctant Dragon" of the 337th Bombardment Squadron. Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress (299P), USA - Air Force AN1008645.jpg
44-85583 Brazil Recife, Pernambuco Recife Air Force Base display Built at Vega Burank as B-17G. Sold to Brazilian Air Force in 1951. Used until 1968. Put on display in 1973. Restored in 1999.
44-85718 United States Houston, Texas Lone Star Flight Museum airworthy[36] Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Sold in 1947 to Institut Geographique National in France. Later returned to United States. Wears livery of 41-24635 "Thunderbird."[37] 230850 Thunderbird B-17G (3147297948).jpg
44-85734 United States Douglas, Georgia Private (Don Brooks) under restoration for display[citation needed] Built at Vega Burbank as B-17G. Restored in livery of 42-97849 "Liberty Belle" of the 570th Bombardment Squadron. On 13 June 2011 made a forced landing at Oswego, Illinois and was largely destroyed in fire. Shipped to Brooks Aviation in Douglas, Georgia and currently being rebuilt using fuselage from 44-83387. Liberty Belle Reykjavík01.JPG
44-85738 United States Tulare, California Mefford Field display Built at Vega Burbank as B-17G. Given to AMVETS Chapter 56 in 1958. Moved to compound at Perry's Coffee House in 1971. Placed on display at AMVETS again in 1981. Named "Preston's Pride." Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress ‘0-85738 - K’ “Preston’s Pride” (29570014925).jpg
44-85740 United States Oshkosh, Wisconsin Experimental Aircraft Association airworthy[38] Built at Vega Burbank as B-17G. Wears livery of 42-102516 "Aluminum Overcast."[39] Boeing B-17 "Aluminium Overcast" (7279331484) (2).jpg
44-85778 United States Palm Springs, California Palm Springs Air Museum display but registered with FAA[40] Built at Vega Burbank as B-17G. Named "Miss Angela."[41] B17G Miss Angela.jpg
44-85784 England Duxford, Cambridgeshire Imperial War Museum Duxford airworthy Built at Vega Burbank as B-17G. Placed in storage after delivery. Sent to Wright Field in 1948. Leased to General Electric in 1950. Sold in 1954 to Institut géographique national, and used until 1975 as survey plane. Purchased in 1975 by Ted White, restored to WW2 configuration and named "Sally B" after his partner, Elly Sallingboe. B-17 Sally B (5921839763).jpg
44-85790 United States Salem, Oregon B-17 Alliance Museum under restoration to airworthiness Built at Vega Burbank as B-17G. Flown to Rome 14 July 1945. Purchased by Art Lacey or Portland, Oregon 5 March 1947. Used as gas station canopy at Lacey's Bomber Gas Station in Milwaukie, Oregon until 1995. Under restoration to airworthy status. Named "Lacey Lady."[42]
44-85813 United States Urbana, Ohio Champaign Aviation Museum under restoration to airworthiness[43] Built at Vega Burbank as B-17G. Converted to turboprop by Curtiss Wright. Sold to Curtiss in 1957. Later used as tanker. Crashed 16 April 1980 during takeoff from Bear Pen Airport, North Carolina. Wreckage purchased by Tom Reilly of Kissimmee. Currently under restoration.[44] B-17 Flying Fortress Project at the Champaign Aviation Museum.jpg
44-85828 United States Tucson, Arizona Pima Air and Space Museum display Built at Vega Burbank as B-17G. Placed in storage. Later transferred to U.S. Coast Guard as patrol and rescue plane. From 1978 to 1980 served as a water bomber for Globe Aviation in Mesa, Arizona. Transferred in U.S.A.F Museum in 1980. Wears livery of 42-31892 "I'll Be Around."[45] 44-85828 - DI-H Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress (299P) "I`ll Be Around" (cn 8737) USAAF. (8215362789).jpg
44-85829 United States Belleville, Michigan Yankee Air Force airworthy[46] Built at Vega Burbank as B-17G. Restored in livery of generic 534th Bombardment Squadron plane. Name "Yankee Lady" is not from a wartime aircraft.[47] Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Yankee Lady".jpg

Known wrecks[edit]

In addition to the 47 surviving planes, there are several known complete or near-complete wrecks around the world. The most recent wreck to be recovered was 41-2446, "Swamp Ghost," which was removed from a swamp in Papua New Guinea in 2006. There are currently no plans underway to recover any wrecks.

Serial Location Coordinates History Photo
41-9234  Papua New Guinea 7°24′21″S 146°48′20″E / 7.405955°S 146.805566°E / -7.405955; 146.805566 Built at Boeing Seattle as B-17E. Crash landed on side of mountain near Wau 8 January 1943 after attack on convey in Huon Gulf. Popularly known as "Gray Ghost." After retrieval of Swamp Ghost, this became the only remaining wreck on land.[48] Black Cat B-17.jpg
41-24371  Italy 38°09′38″N 13°26′12″E / 38.160690°N 13.436701°E / 38.160690; 13.436701 (approx.) Built at Boeing Seattle as B-17F. Named "Devils from Hell." Crash landed off coast of Palermo 18 April 1943.[49]
41-24521  Solomon Islands 9°16′26″S 159°46′31″E / 9.273986°S 159.775272°E / -9.273986; 159.775272 Built by Boeing Seattle as B-17F. Named "Black Jack/The Joker's Wild" Ditched near Aruliho during storm 11 July 1943. Discovered in 1986.[50] Blackjack B-17.jpg
42-31044  France 42°34′19″N 8°45′46″E / 42.572058°N 8.762800°E / 42.572058; 8.762800 Built at Boeing Seattle as B-17G. Named "Her Did." Ditched off coast of Corsica 14 February 1944.[51] Scuba divers on the wreck of a B-17 bomber.JPG
44-6630  Croatia 43°00′47″N 16°12′40″E / 43.013095°N 16.211020°E / 43.013095; 16.211020 Built at Douglas Long Beach as B-17G. Ditched off coast of Vis 6 November 1944. B-17 Vis Croatia.jpeg

References[edit]

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