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Home Base: Chino, CA
Operation: Western, Central and Eastern USA
Model: B-17G
Wing Span:
103' 9"
Length: 74' 4"
Height: 19' 2"
Max Speed: 287 mph
Gross Weight: 65,500 lbs
Power Plant: 4 x Wright R-1820-97
Horsepower: 4 x 1,200
Fuel Capacity: 2,780 gallons
Armament: Thirteen 50-caliber machine-guns plus a maximum of 17,600 lb (7,983 kg) of bombs. Normal bomb load 6,000 lbs (2,724 kg). Largest bomb type carried was 2,000 lb (908 kg).

MARC's Boeing B-17G "The Movie Memphis Belle"



The Military Aircraft Restoration Corporation (MARC)
is the owner and operator of this Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "The Movie Memphis Belle" (USAAF s/n 44-83546), which is available for airshows, flybys and film throughout the USA.

The Flying Fortress was designed for a USAAC competition, announced in 1934, to find a modern replacement for the assorted Keystone biplane bombers, then in service. Since funding was lacking at the time, only thirty Flying Fortresses were fully operational when Hitler's forces invaded Poland in September 1939. The US was not involved in the fighting in Europe at the time, so it did not seem to be a matter of urgency. However, as it became clearer that US involvement was inevitable, after the Munich Crisis, orders for B-17s were increased.

The Pearl Harbor attack of December 7, 1941 finally brought the United States into the war and production of the B-17 rapidly increased. By July 1942, the US began forming the Eighth Air Force in Britain, equipped with B-17Es. The 'E' represented an important improvement over the earlier B-17s, in that it had a tail turret, eliminating a previous defensive blind spot. Production of the B-17F was undertaken by Douglas and Vega, a subsidiary of the Lockheed Aircraft Corp., but modifications were taking their toll in airspeed. There were more than four hundred modifications on the B-17F.

The B-17F lacked adequate defense against a head-on attack. By September 1943, the Flying Fortress showed its final shape during firepower tests on the XB-40, a modified B-17F with the advantage of a "chin" turret. The success of the chin turret, led to the delivery of the B-17G (the major production version), which was the first production variant to have a chin turret installed, under the nose. The Bendix turret held two .50-cal. guns, which increased the armament to thirteen guns. In all, there were 8,680 B-17Gs built by Boeing, Vega, and Douglas to make this the largest production variation. Produced in greater numbers than any other single model, more B-17Gs were lost, than any other model.

On 19 July 1943, US B-17s and B-24 Liberators carried out the first bombing raid on Rome. US bombing in Europe reached its high point in February 1945 with a 1,000-bomber raid on Berlin,
escorted by 400 fighters, and the Dresden raid (alongside RAF Lancasters) which, caused a massive fire storm to sweep the city. Meanwhile, B-17s were also helping to win the war against Japan, although by mid-1943 the larger Boeing B-29 had begun to take over the major strategic bombing missions in the Pacific theater.

B-17G 44-83546 was accepted by the USAAF at Long Beach on April 3, 1945 and went to Topeka, Kansas for modifications before going to Lubbock, Texas for short-term storage. It was then moved to Patterson Field, Ohio for storage and then was converted to a CB-17G (transport conversion) and assigned to Air Transport Command at San Francisco. 44-83546 was then assigned to Washington, DC and then to Germany. In 1948 it was redesignated a VB-17G (staff transport) and then assigned to Andrews AFB, followed by Offutt AFB and then to Japan during the Korean War.

In 1954, 44-83546 was placed in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB and then was released for disposal in April 1959. 44-83546 was purchased by National Metals Co. of Phoenix, Arizona and then sold to Fast Way Air of Long Beach, California. 44-83546 became N3703G on the US civil register. In 1960 she was converted to a water bomber and operated as Tanker 78. In 1978 44-83546/N3703G was sold to TBM Inc. of Tulare, California who continued to operate her as a tanker until the late 1970s. 44-83546/N3703G was purchased by the Military Aircraft Restoration Corporation (MARC) in 1982 and was restored to resemble a B-17F. In 1989, she crossed the Atlantic with another B-17 to participate in the filming of the movie Memphis Belle in England. Since returning, 44-83546/N3703G has worn the "Memphis Belle" markings and nose art.

The original "Memphis Belle" is B-17F-10-BO 41-24485 and is under restoration at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. The Memphis Belle was the first B-17 to complete 25 combat missions and return to the US to help sell war bonds. She was assigned to the 91st Bomb Group, 324th Bomb Squadron and was based at Bassingbourn, England.

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Contact

Joe Krzeminski

Office: (909) 923-3350
Cell: (714) 602-0937

 


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