Resurrecting A B-17 Flying Fortress

Resurrecting A B-17 Flying Fortress | World War Wings Videos

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City of Savannah

A week after WWII ended, one of the last B-17 Flying Fortresses came out of the Douglas Aircraft Company production line in Long Beach, California. Today that B-17, with the tail number 44-83814, is the centerpiece of the Combat Gallery at the National Museum of the Mighty Eight Air Force.

The aircraft managed to avoid getting scrapped and ended up as a war memorial in front of a public school in 1947. Years later, its lower cockpit was reconfigured to install camera equipment, allowing it to fly photographic mapping flights for 18 years. 

It then served as a firefighter before being traded to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in 1984.

In January 2009, after 25 years inside a hangar, the Flying Fortress was gifted to the museum where it resides now. 

The B-17’s restoration process began a day after it was reassembled at the museum and took six years to complete. 

By 2015, the museum had already held a ceremony to honor the Eight Air Force veterans and the crew of 150 volunteers who restored the bomber to a better condition. We thank them all for their service!

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