Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress

Confederate Air Force diagrams & photos provide information for commentary

CONFEDERATE AIR FORCE'S 
GULF COAST WING B-17G "TEXAS RAIDERS"
This is a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress. It is one of two owned by the Confederate Air Force which is headquartered in Midland, Texas. This aircraft is based in Houston, Texas at Ellington Field and maintained by the Gulf Coast Wing. The CAF is a volunteer organization with no paid crew, although sponsors are welcome. THIS AIRCRAFT IS KEPT FLYING BY YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS AND THE DEDICATION OF ITS VOLUNTEER CREW. All contributions are tax deductible.
HISTORY
In 1935, when first flown, the prototype Boeing 299 was the largest land plane in the world. This aircraft evolved into the United States' best-known and respected heavy bomber of World War II, the B-17.

Although this B-17 never saw combat, it was modified as the first AWACS aircraft. It took off from New Jersey on August 15,1945, the day hostilities ceased, headed for the Western Pacific to be the lead aircraft (because of its 500 mile radar range) for the invasion of Japan.

The B-17 proudly served with the Navy as a PB1W patrol and air/sea rescue airplane and later with the Aero Services Division of Litton Corporation in seismic exploration and photographic mapping before it was purchased by the Confederate Air Force for $50,000 in 1967.

In all 12,731 B-17s were built in 7 MODELS (Y1 B-17 - B-17G). There are approximately 12 B-17s still flying and 47 KNOWN AIRCRAFT HULLS in existence.

ENGINES
This B-17G is powered by four Studebaker built Wright-Cyclone, nine cylinder, R-1820-97 ENGINES developing 1200 hp each and has 11' 7" Hamilton Standard 6477A-6 full feathering props. The Texas Raiders uses 100LL FUEL, has a capacity of 2,780 gallons and a consumption of 225 gph. The OIL used is 60 wt. with a 37 gallon tank on each engine. It uses approximately one gallon per hour per engine. There is one HYDRAULIC SYSTEM for the brakes and cowl flaps; everything else is electric or cable controlled. Rubber coated wires off the trailing edges of the wings and horizontal stabilizers are static electric discharge wicks.

CREW
The B-17 carried a CREW of ten including a PILOT, COPILOT, NAVIGATOR, BOMBARDIER, FLIGHT ENGINEER /top turret gunner, BALL TURRET GUNNER, RADIO OPERATOR, WAIST GUNNER (2), and a TAIL GUNNER. Crews flew 25-35 or 50 missions, depending on the status of the war. The ball turret and tail gunners buckled up in the waist of the plane for take-off and landing. The tail gunner crawled to his position. The ball turret gunner entered the ball from inside the airplane once it was in the air.
GUNS/BOMBS
Early models had up to 12 guns; later they had 13-.50 caliber MACHINE GUNS and utilized the NORDEN BOMB SIGHT. A typical BOMB LOAD was 6,000 lbs for long missions, but she could carry up to a 17,600 lb. bomb load for short missions. The BOMBS on each side of the nose denote the number/type of missions that the plane flew. The SWASTIKAS painted on the plane indicate the number of German planes shot down by that position.
WEIGHT/RANGE
Texas Raiders has an empty WEIGHT of 34,410 lbs. and an "all up" gross of 60,000 lbs. with a war weight of 65,000 lbs (during the war, this figure was exceeded quite often; sometimes up into the 70,000 lbs. range). She has a SERVICE CEILING of 35,600 feet, a top speed of 302 mph, cruising speed of 160 knots and a maximum COMBAT RADIUS of approximately 2000 miles. A B-17 in service with the Royal Air Force, climbed to 42,000 feet and was still climbing when it was forced to lower altitude because of freezing equipment and crew.
PRESENT ACTIVITIES
The Texas Raiders has appeared in two MOVIES, Ike, The War Years and Brady's Escape. She was also featured in an MCI COMMERCIAL. This aircraft typically flies 125-150 hours each year and is flown into each tour area.
PLANE MARKINGS
X-Individual Aircraft Marking (X-Ray A/C Phonetic Alphabet) 
A-First Air Division of the 8th Air Force 
L-381st Bomb Group 
VP-533rd Squadron

CONFEDERATE AIR FORCE'S 
GULF COAST WING B-17G  
"TEXAS RAIDERS" B17G 
FLIGHT ENGINEER'S STATION 
WITH CIRCUIT BREAKER PANEL 
AND CONTROLS IN REAR

[Note: Kilroy]

The bombs on the left are attached to a bomb rack [vertical metallic structures] by shackles. The Kilroy on the bomb might have been penned on the ground by a ground armoror, ground crew chief, or someone else.


RIGHT AND LEFT WAIST GUNNERS' POSITIONS, LOOKING OVER BALL TURRET POSITION FORWARD RADIO ROOM 
LOOKING AFT 
TO BALL TURRET

Before D-Day, B-17s had ten-men crews with two waist gunners. After D-Day, most B17s had nine-man crews with only one waist gunner. The yellow container is the oxygen tank for the ball turret gunner.

Diz volunteered for ball turret because
it provided the best view. The radio gunner seldom fired a gun in combat, even though he had a .50 caliber gun atop the plane. Since little action took place above the plane, this gun seldom came into use, however.


RADIO ROOM LOOKING FORWARD THROUGH BOMB BAY, RADIO OPERATOR'S POSITION ON LEFT PILOT AND COPILOT POSITIONS LOOKING FORWARD THROUGH FLIGHT DECK

Visible through the door [at the top of the picture]  is the catwalk. This catwalk was used to get from one end of the plane to the other. It was relatively safe on the catwalk, even if the bomb bay doors were open.

The first pilot is located on the left and the co-pilot is on his right. The first pilot is the commander of the plane its crew.


NAVIGATOR POSITION (LEFT) BOMBARDIER CONTROL PANEL 
(LEFT FORWARD) BOMBARDIER STATION LOOKING FORWARD
INTERIOR 
BALL TURRET 
POSITION

The bombardier and navigator were located at a lower level than the pilot, co-pilot and rest of the crew.

In the picture above, the ball turret gunner would be lying on his back, looking up between his legs. He is in a horizontal position, while looking through the round-shaped Plexiglas. This entire space would be filled with the gunner. The ball turret gunner is isolated from his crew, except for communication via a throat microphone.


This is looking out the tail of the plane. Fifty caliber machine guns would have been mounted on the gun mounts ]pictured at the bottom of this photo]. The tail gunner could only see planes approaching his plane from the rear. A friend of mine,  Eugene Moran from Wisconsin, was a tail gunner in a B17 which was shot down. He was the sole survivor.

                TAIL GUNNER POSITION 
         LOOKING AFT


Bomb Crew Positions
From the files of Harold (Diz) Kronenberg