Airplanes of the Past Home Page Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty" S/N 44-83884



Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty"

The B-17 After the War

Rows of B-17 Flying Fortresses awaiting their final destiny at Kingman Army AirfieldRows of B-17 Flying Fortresses awaiting their final destiny at Kingman Army Airfield

Following the end of World War II, the B-17 was quickly phased out of use as a bomber and the Army Air Forces retired most of its fleet.

Production ended in May 1945 and totaled 12,731 airplanes. They were built by Boeing in Seattle (BO), Douglas Aircraft Co. (DL) in Long Beach, CA and Vega Aircraft Corp. (VE) in Burbank, CA.

Flight crews ferried the bombers back across the Atlantic and Pacific to the United States where the majority were sold for scrap and melted down at disposal depots such as Kingman Army Air Field in Arizona (see photo to the right).

Large numbers of planes remained in use in second-line roles such as VIP transports, air-sea rescue and photo-reconnaissance roles.

Some, like the B-17 now at the Global Power Museum at Barksdale AFB, saw service with the U.S. Navy for many years.

B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty"

The museum's B-17 was built as Serial Number 44-83884, rolling off the assembly line in July, 1945. It was the second-to-last B-17 assembled by the Douglas Aircraft Company under contract with Boeing. It was produced as bare aluminum with no paint on its skin to save manufacturing time.

After being assigned to the USAAF for just a few days, the plane was transferred to the U.S. Navy as BuNo 77244 and became a PB-1W submarine hunter. It would serve in this role from 1945 to 1956.

In 1957 the airplane was surplused, purchased by a private company, and flown to Love Field in Dallas to receive modifications to convert it into an "Executive Fortress".

This plan never was completed, and the plane sat unused until 1960 when it was purchased by the Aero Union Corporation in California. Aero Union converted it to a "Borate Bomber" named for the fire retardant that it would drop on forest fires. Designated as Air Tanker 19, this aircraft would see service across the U.S. from 1960 until 1977.

After its service with Aero Union, the airplane was soon prepared for its final flight to Barksdale AFB, which occured on April 11, 1978. It was flown by then Vice Commander of the Eighth Air Force, Major General John J. Murphy.

This B-17 was previously painted and known as "Yankee Doodle II".

Other Surviving B-17 Flying Fortresses

A total of 39 surviving B-17 airframes are located in the United States. Twelve B-17 are still airworthy today, two F models, and 10 B-17G models. An additional 18 B-17s are on static display around the United States, and 9 aircraft are undergoing restoration or are in storage.

View a list of all surviving B-17 Flying Fortress with models, serial numbers, aircraft name, restoration status and location by state.


B-17 Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty" Photos from the Planes of the Past Archives

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty" S/N 44-83884 painted as 231340 at the Barksdale Global Power Museum
Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty" S/N 44-83884 painted as 231340 at the Barksdale Global Power Museum
Nose art on Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty" S/N 231340
Nose art on Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty" at the Global Power Museum
Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty" S/N 231340

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty" S/N 231340

Right nose view of the B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty" S/N 231340 at Barksdale AFB

Right nose view of the B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty" S/N 231340 at Barksdale AFB

Nose area of the Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty" S/N 231340

Nose area of the Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty" S/N 231340

Side fuselage view of Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress S/N 44-83884 painted as 231340, in Bossier City, Louisiana

Side fuselage view of Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress S/N 44-83884 painted as 231340, in Bossier City, Louisiana

Tail section of the Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty" S/N 44-83884 painted as 231340

Tail section of the Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty" S/N 44-83884 painted as 231340