B-17G FLYING FORTRESS
Lockheed-Vega for Boeing Aircraft
401st Bomb group
N3154S (Old: N6694C)
The Boeing B-17 was a four engine heavy bomber developed in the 1930's for the U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC).
The B-17 was primarily employed in the daylight precision strategic bombing campaign of World War II against German industrial and military targets. The U.S. Army Air Corps touted the aircraft as a strategic weapon. It was a potent, high-flying, long-range bomber, able to defend itself and return home despite extensive battle damage. Widely circulated stories and photos of battered B-17s helped it achieve huge public recognition.
Our B-17 is being rebuilt using parts from various airframes that have seen a wide range of service, including an airtanker, movie prop, search and rescue, and nuclear testing. Volunteers fabricate missing pieces according to the specifications from the original drawings.
our specific B-17 was manufactured by Lockheed-Vega in Burbank, California as a B-17G-110-VE. It was taken on Strength with the US Army Air Force, a predecessor to the USAF, around 1945 but was almost immediately leased to Curtiss-Wright Corporation in Caldwell, New Jersey. It was then converted to an engine testbed, model 299Z. The conversion consisted of moving the cockpit back, removing military hardware, and attaching an engine mount instead of a standard B-17 nose. Curtiss-Wright initially used the aircraft to test the extremely powerful turboprop, the XT-35. Producing 5500 HP the stock Wright Cyclone engines could be shut down and the airplane could fly with just the XT-35. 85813 then tested the J65 jet engine, propellers with an R3350 engine, a 6 bladed prop with a T-64-G engine.
In 1966, the aircraft was sold to Ewing aviation of Spearfish South Dakota with only a round 'cap' for a nose. Several years later, the aircraft was rebuilt with parts from another B-17 to standard B-17 specs. It flew with Ewing-Kolb Aviation as a firebomber until 1980 when it crashed in North Carolina. The parts were then recovered in the mid 80's and stored until some of the aircraft was used to restore Liberty Belle, another B-17.
In 2005, we purchased the remaining parts of 44-85813 and began the long process of restoring a WWII icon to flying condition.
103 ft 9 in (31.62 m)
74 ft 4 in (22.66 m)
19 ft 1 in (5.82 m)
54,000 lb (24,500 kg)
287 mph (462 km/h)
35,600 ft (10,850 m)
2,000 mi (3,219 km)
4 Wright R-1820 Cyclones