Planes of Fame Air Museum
Planes of Fame Air Museum
Home »  Collection »  Flying & Static Aircraft »  Boeing B-17G 'Flying Fortress'


  • The B-17 was designed in response to a need for a long-range maritime patrol aircraft. The prototype, designated 'Model 299', first flew on July 28, 1935. The first service-test aircraft was delivered in January 1937. The first production B-17Bs entered service in mid 1939. Twenty B-17Cs were delivered to the Royal Air Force for use over Europe. The B-17Ds bore the brunt of the early fighting in the Pacific. The aircraft was continually improved and ultimately evolved into the B-17G with its distinctive chin turret.
  • Although it served in all theaters of WW II, it is best known for its role in daylight bombing over Europe. A total of 12,731 B-17s were built, of which 8,680 were G models.


  • The Museum’s B-17, built by Douglas Aircraft and delivered May 7, 1945, arrived too late for World War II, and went into storage in Texas.  In March 1950, it was converted into a Drone Director Aircraft (DB-17G) to serve as airborne control of radio-operated B-17 target aircraft (QB-17s).  It performed these duties during Operation Greenhouse, the 1951 nuclear bomb tests on Enewetak Atoll (Marshall Islands), and later at stateside missile ranges.  On August 6, 1959, it controlled a QB-17 in the last operational mission of a B-17 for the U.S. Air Force.  Stored at Davis-Monthan AFB, it was acquired by the Museum and has appeared in the movies The Thousand Plane Raid, Fort Apache, and Black Sheep Squadron and the ABC television series, Twelve O’Clock High as 'Piccadilly Lilly'.  It is under restoration to fly.



Status: Restoring to Flight
Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company
Year: 1945
Model: B-17G-90-DL Flying Fortress
Registration Number: N3713G
Serial Number: 44-83684 
Crew: 10
Max T/O Weight: 65,500 lb.
Span: 103 ft. 9 in.
Length: 74 ft. 4 in.
Height: 19 ft. 1 in.
Maximum Speed: 302 mph
Cruise Speed: 160 mph
Rate of Climb: 720 ft/min
Power Plant: Four, 1200 hp Wright Cyclone R-1820-97 turbocharged 9-cylinder radial engines
Range: 2000 miles
Service Ceiling: 36,500 ft.
Armament: 13, 0.50-cal machine guns and 6,000 lbs. of bombs


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