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Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

ICAO aircraft code B17
Manufacturer Boeing
Country United States
New price USD .393 million (1945)

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engined heavy bomber developed in the 1930s for the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC).


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Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Specifications

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ICAO aircraft code
1936 - 1945
United States
New purchase price
USD .393 million (1945)

Aircraft performance

4x Wright R-1820-97 "Cyclone" turbosupercharged radial engines
other: Other
1,200 HP
Max Cruise Speed:
249 Kts
461 Km/h
Approach Speed (Vref):
76 Kts
Travel range:
1,738 Nm
3,219 Kilometers
Service Ceiling:
35,600 feet
Rate of Climb:
900 feet / minute
4.57meter / second
Take Off Distance:
1341 meter - 4,399.55 feet
Landing Distance:
1067 meter - 3,500.61 feet

Weight & dimensions

Max Take Off Weight:
29,700 Kg
65,477 lbs
Max Payload:
9,786 Kg
21,574 lbs
Fuel Tank Capacity:
1,700 gallon
6,435 liter

Disclaimer: The information on this page may not be accurate or current. Never use it for flight planning or any other aircraft operation purposes. No warranty of fitness for any purpose is made or implied. Flight planning or any other aircraft operations should only be done using official technical information provided by the manufacture or official aviation authorities.

About the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engined heavy bomber developed in the 1930s for the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC). Competing against Douglas and Martin for a contract to build 200 bombers, the Boeing entry (prototype Model 299/XB-17) outperformed both competitors and exceeded the Air Corps’ performance specifications. Although Boeing lost the contract (to the Douglas B-18 Bolo) because the prototype crashed, the Air Corps ordered 13 more B-17s for further evaluation. From its introduction in 1938, the B-17 Flying Fortress evolved through numerous design advances, becoming the third-most produced bomber of all time, behind the four-engined Consolidated B-24 Liberator and the multirole, twin-engined Junkers Ju 88.

The B-17 was primarily employed by the USAAF in the daylight strategic bombing campaign of World WarII against German industrial, military and civilian targets. The United States Eighth Air Force, based at many airfields in central, eastern and southern England, and the Fifteenth Air Force, based in Italy, complemented the RAF Bomber Command’s night-time area bombing in the Combined Bomber Offensive to help secure air superiority over the cities, factories and battlefields of Western Europe in preparation for the invasion of France in 1944. The B-17 also participated to a lesser extent in the Pacific War, early in World War II, where it conducted raids against Japanese shipping and airfields.

From its prewar inception, the USAAC (by June 1941, the USAAF) promoted the aircraft as a strategic weapon; it was a relatively fast, high-flying, long-range bomber with heavy defensive armament at the expense of bombload. It developed a reputation for toughness based upon stories and photos of badly damaged B-17s safely returning to base. The B-17 dropped more bombs than any other U.S. aircraft in World WarII. Of approximately 1.5 million tons of bombs dropped on Nazi Germany and its occupied territories by U.S. aircraft, over 640,000tons (42.6%) were dropped from B-17s. In addition to its role as a bomber, the B-17 was also employed as a transport, antisubmarine aircraft, drone controller, and search-and-rescue aircraft.

As of October 2019, nine aircraft remain airworthy, though none of them were ever flown in combat. Dozens more are in storage or on static display. The oldest of these is a D-series flown in combat in the Pacific on the first day of the United States’ involvement in World War II.

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