Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

DND archives

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft were bombers by design, but the RCAF versions—three B-17E models and three B-17F models—flew without armament since they were purely used as transport aircraft in Canadian service. RE64-957

Overview

Overview

The Boeing B‑17 Flying Fortress was probably the most famous of all the American heavy bombers of the Second World War. Introduced into the U.S. Army Air Corps prior to the war, the Flying Fortress was subsequently flown on U.S. operations in all theatres of the war. In some theatres, war-weary B‑17 bombers were converted to unarmed transport aircraft. It was in this latter, less glamorous role that RCAF Flying Fortresses were employed. The RCAF acquired six used B‑17E and F aircraft from the United States in 1943. Stripped of all armament and armour, the aircraft were employed by the RCAF’s No. 168 Squadron on a trans-Atlantic mail service vital to the morale of overseas forces. The aircraft were progressively modified and improved for service in this transport role, and some aircraft were subsequently stripped of paint and appeared in a polished, bare metal finish. No. 168 Squadron delivered more than two million pounds of mail between December 1943 and March 1946.

Designation B-17E, B-17F
Model number 299-O, 299-P
Marks Mk II, IIA
Role Transport
Taken on strength 1943
Struck off strength 1946
Number 6
Service RCAF

Source: Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft: A Military Compendium by T.F.J. Leversedge © 2007. Translated and reproduced with permission of the author.

Technical specifications

Technical specifications

Manufacturer Boeing Aircraft Co.
Crew / passengers Two pilots plus navigator and up to five additional crew
Powerplant Four 1,200 hp Wright Cyclone R‑1820‑65 radial engines
Maximum speed 317 mph (510 km/h)
Cruising speed 210 mph (338 km/h)
Service ceiling 36,600 ft (11,156 m)
Range 800 mi (1,287 km)
Empty weight 32,250 lbs (14,629 kg)
Gross weight  53,000 lbs (24,041 kg)
Span 103 ft 9 in (31.62 m)
Length 73 ft 10 in (22.50 m)
Height 19 ft 2 in (5.85 m)
Wing area 1,420 sq ft (131.92 m2)
Armament None in Canadian service, but provision for 0.50-cal machine guns in powered turrets and flexible positions plus carriage of bombs in an internal bomb bay
Cost $276,000 US

Source: Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft: A Military Compendium by T.F.J. Leversedge © 2007. Translated and reproduced with permission of the author.

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