The first flight of a four-engine plane took place on July 28, 1935, from Boeing Field in south Seattle.
It was simply known as the Model 299 as it rolled out of the Boeing hangar. The new jet, with its several machine-gun turrets, was called the "Flying Fortress" by Seattle Times writer Richard Smith, a moniker that Boeing promptly patented. The B-17 was the designation given to the plane by the United States Army Air Corps.
The B-17 was a low-wing monoplane that used aerodynamic qualities from both the XB-15 huge bomber and the Model 247 transport plane. The B-17 was the first Boeing military plane with a flight deck rather than an open cockpit, and it was armed with bombs and five.30-caliber machine guns positioned in transparent "blisters."
When the British Royal Air Force received four B-17s for high-altitude operations in 1941, the first B-17s saw battle. The bombers required more armament and armor as World War II progressed.
This was the beginning of the famous "Flying Fortress!"
To show how incredible this aircraft is, the bomber was designed from the start to strike key objectives using precise daytime bombing while flying above the effective range of antiaircraft guns.
Heavy defensive weaponry was to offer protection against attacking fighters, while turbo-supercharged radial engines (a uniquely American creation) were to offer the requisite high-altitude performance. The Norden bombsight, developed and fielded in secrecy during the 1930s, was supposed to attain accuracy.
The Norden had a gyroscopically stabilized telescopic sight that was linked to an electromechanical computer that the bombardier fed altitude, atmospheric conditions, airspeed, ground speed, and drift into.
How powerful can it be with all of the gears and weaponry?
This heavy bomber held quite the punch. The aircraft carried a 4 Wright R-1820-97 Cyclone that held 1,200 HP each. Boeing focussed its efforts on four engines for enhanced speed, altitude, and bomb load, while its competitors pursued bomber designs with just two engines. Flew speeds of 200 to 250 mph while holding a bomb load of 2,000 lbs.
This 10 crewmen aircraft has so shown so much impact in history. The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, maybe more than any other aircraft, embodied the air fight against Nazi Germany and led the Allies' to victory in World War II.
So, did the B-17 Flying Fortress just become your favorite aircraft?