The B-17 was developed by Boeing USA in response for the Army's request for a large, multi-engine bomber. The B-17 (Model 299) prototype went from design board to flight test in less than 12 months. The design was a low-wing monoplane that combined aerodynamic features of the XB-15 giant bomber, still in the design stage, and the Model 247 transport. The B-17 was the first Boeing military aircraft with a flight deck instead of an open cockpit and was armed with bombs and five .30-caliber machine guns mounted in clear "blisters."

From its introduction in 1938, the B-17 Flying Fortress evolved through numerous design advances. Primarily employed by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) in the daylight precision strategic bombing campaign of World War II against German industrial and military targets. The first B-17s saw combat in 1941, when the British Royal Air Force took delivery of several B-17s for high-altitude missions. As World War II intensified, the bombers needed additional armament and armor. In the Pacific, the aircraft earned a deadly reputation with the Japanese, who dubbed them "four-engine fighters." The Fortresses were also legendary for their ability to stay in the air after taking brutal poundings. They sometimes limped back to their bases with large chunks of the fuselage shot off. From its pre-war inception, the USAAC (later USAAF) touted the aircraft as a strategic weapon; it was a potent, high-flying, long-range bomber that was able to defend itself, and to return home despite extensive battle damage. The B-17 established itself as an effective weapons system, dropping more bombs than any other U.S. aircraft in World War II. Of the 1.5 million metric tons of bombs dropped on Germany by U.S. aircraft, 640,000 tons were dropped from B-17s.

Boeing plants built a total of 6,981 B-17s in various models, and another 5,745 were built under a nationwide collaborative effort by Douglas and Lockheed (Vega).

b 17f profile

B-17G "Miss Angela"

Plane with Serial 44-85778, Civil Registration: N3509G.

"Miss Angela" is now at the Palm Springs Air Museum, California (USA), where it was photographed. Nearly 200 pictures!

Photographed February 2011 by Cees Hendriks (C) Copyright!

B17 0698



Boeing B-17G "I'll be around"

B-17G-110-VE, c/n 8737, s/n 44-85828[84] , with civil code N9233R. It has the name "I'll be Around", and this aircraft was photographed at Pima Air & Space Museum, Tucson, AZ (USA)

Photographed February 2011 by Cees Hendriks (C) Copyright IPMS Nederland


B-17G "Picadilly"

The last active B-17 in the United States Air Force, slated for the 8th AF / 447th BG but never delivered, ex-DB-17G, ex DB-17P. Serial 44-83684. Retired in 1959 after nine years as a DB-17P drone director. Primary aircraft for Twelve O' Clock High television series, 1964–1966 as Picadilly Lily (one "l"). This B-17 was photographed at the Planes of Fame museum, Chino (CA), USA

Photographed February 2011 by Cees Hendriks (C) Copyright IPMS Nederland


B-17G "Sentimental Journey"

This B-17G with serial no. 44-83514 was manufactured by Douglas in 1994, one of the plants that manufactured the type. This aircraft is flown by the Commemorative Air Force museum in Mesa , Arizona. Betty Grable is featured on the nose art. 

Photographed 2014 by Cees Hendriks (C) Copyright IPMS Nederland


Also featured in a later visit are many interior photo's, seen here:

Photographed 2017 by Cees Hendriks (C) Copyright IPMS Nederland

B-17F  "Memphis Belle"

This famous aircraft flew in many combat missions over Europe during the Second World War. Later in the war it was used to boost morale in the USA and was used in several films and movies. The B-17F aircraft with serial no. 41-24485 was on display in Memphis but came to the USAF museum in Dayton in 2005 and was further restored and conserved.

Photographed Summer 2019 by Ronald van Voorst, (C) Copyright IPMS Nederland

Scale models of the B-17 are available in many scales.

In 1/72 scale good models are from Revell and Academy. In 1/48 scale from Revell/Monogram and later HK Models.

In the large 1/32 scale an impressive B-17 injection moulded model was issued by HK Models from HongKong. Before that there were vacuforms.



This walk around page was first published February 2012