The B-17 aircraft, designed by Boeing Aircraft in 1934, is one of the most famous aircraft ever built. The B-17prototype first flew on July 28, 1935 and first went into combat in the Philippines and Hawaii on December 7, 941 in strikes against the Japanese fleet.
Eventually the B-17s were used in every theater of operation in WW ll, but were best known for daylight strategic bombing of German industrial targets. When production of the B-17 was halted in May 1945 a total of 12,731 aircraft had been produced. In Europe alone, B-17s dropped more than 640,000 tons of bombs - which was almost 200,000 tons more then were released by all other Allied bombers and fighters combined.
The "Flying Fortress" earned its name in aerial combat over Europe with an average of 25 enemy planes shot down per 1,000 sorties. It became legendary for sustaining heavy battle damage and still being able to return to base.
This B-17G S/N 44-83863 is being depicted as B-17F S/N 42-30180 "Black Hawk'' served with the 96th Bombardment Group (BG), the 96th BG was re-designated the 96h Test Wing (TW) on July 18, 2012. The 96th Test Wing is Eglin AFB, FL. The "Black Hawk" also had ties at the time with Eglin Field, it was one of several aircraft which took part in Operation Aphrodite. This operation basically took B-17s and
PB4Ys and turned them into automatic piloted bombers that were controlled remotely. These aircraft were stripped of all non-essential gear and packed with high-explosives and guided to their targets by the mother ship. Operation Aphrodite started in June of 1944 and concluded in January of 1945.
Manufacturer Boeing Aircraft
Thrust Four — Wright "Cyclone" R-1820 Radial engines rated at 1,200 hp each
Length 74 ft 4 in
Height 19 ft 1 in
Wingspan 103 ft 10 in
Weight 36,135 lbs Empty / 65,000 lbs Max
Speed 287 mph Max / 182 mph Cruise
Range 3400 Miles
Ceiling 35,600 ft
Armament 13 — 50 Cal machine guns and up to 6,000 lbs of bombs
This aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force
( adjacent marker )
The 96th TW honors the 96th Bomb Group, its sister units the 388th BG and the 452nd BG. And all the brave personnell that flew and maintained the B-17 Flying Fortress
8th Air Force Stationed at High Wycombe, England
3rd Air Division Stationed at Elveden Hall, England
45th Combat Wing Stationed at Snetterton-Heath, England
96th BG (C) Snetterton-Heath, England
388th BG (H) Knettishall, England
452nd BG (L) Deopham Green, England