B-17 Flying Fortress
“At the time it was designed, the peacetime life of a military airplane was considerably less than 10 years. In 1935, when the prototype of the B-17 first flew, no one expected that any would still be flying 50 years later.” – 50th Anniversary Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress 1935-1985 – A Museum of Flight Publication
Approximate Overall Dimensions
- Length: 74 feet, 9 inches
- Height: 19 feet, 1 inch – gear down
- Wing Span: 103 feet, 9 inches
- Tactical Empty: 41,000 lbs
- Maximum Gross: 64,500 lbs
- A 4 engine, mid-wing monoplane of all-metal, aluminum alloy, stressed-skin construction.
- Purpose is as a heavy bombardment airplane designed for long distance and high altitude operations.
US Army Categories
- Type: ‘B’ stands for Bomber
- Model: ‘17′ means it was the 17th contracted B-model for the US Army
- Not all assigned were built, some were cancelled before they got off the drawing board
- An ‘X’ in front (XB) means Experimental
- Series: A-G, Sequential improvements to the model number
- Block Number: In sets of 5 (5/10/15/etc) meaning minor changes to structure or equipment of that Series
- Manufacturer’s Letters: Two other manufacturing plants helped produce when the needs expanded beyond the original Boeing plant capabilities, but they were contracted under Boeing. Vega Aircraft Corporation and Douglas Aircraft. ‘BO’ = Boeing plant in Seattle; ‘VE’ = Vega in Burbank; ‘DL’ = Douglas in Long Beach.
- Royal Air Force adoptions of the aircraft named it “Fortress I” or “Flying Fortress”.
- “Flying Fortress” name came from a reporter in 1935 upon first news pictures of the intimidating “15-ton flying fortress.” The nickname did not become popular until 1941 and became the Royal Air Force recognition name as well.