First Flight Of The B-17 Flying Fortress

On this day in 1935 the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress made its first flight.

One of the most iconic aircraft of World War II, Boeing initially lost a competition against Douglas and Martin for a contract for 200 bombers when their prototype crashed but the Air Corps were so impressed with the design they ordered 13 more B-17’s for further evaluation.

The B-17 was primarily used in daylight bombing missions against German military and industrial targets. It also participated in a lesser extend in the Pacific theater, where it participated in raids against Japanese shipping targets and airfields. Throughout the course of World War II it proved itself to be a potent aircraft that was able to effectively defend itself and return home even after sustaining extensive damage. Of the 1.5 million metric tons of bombs that were dropped on Germany and its occupied territories in World War II, 640,000 were dropped from B-17’s.

A total on 12,731 aircraft were built, with 13 still remaining airworthy and dozens more on static display or in storage in the US, Brazil, France, the United Kingdom and The United States.

B-17 1

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