Breaking news!! The only flying "Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress" within radius of 5,700 km will attend the Pardubice Aviation Fair! Arrival from well known Duxford will be no later than 31st of May and head back home on Monday 3rd of June 2013 or later. It’s a unique opportunity to see this extraordinary four day appearance with with both a static display and a dynamic flying display during the Air Show.
The organising team, Aviation Fair, have put in many months of enormous effort to negotiate fair terms of participation by B-17 Preservation Ltd., which operates the B-17. It is now clear that this will be absolutely the most expensive display of a single aircraft demonstration for public performance in the history of the the Pardubice Air Show! Keeping this four-engined bomber, built in 1944, in airworthy condition uses hundreds and thousands of volunteer hours for maintenance and a really huge amount of money for all the spares and other running costs. It seems almost unbelievable that nowadays the majority of the funds for operation of this Aircraft are being collected from various enthusisast, charity organisations and projects in order to keep Sally “B” flying . Unfortunately (or luckily?) this is still not enough to keep her in the air, therefore the aircraft has to perform several paid appearances each year at the air shows and various events in England, Normandy, France or Holland. There were no appearances any further away from UK lately and not even a thought of flight somewhere accross half of Europe, for which B-17s were originally designed until now when the Aviation Fair mission is being launched. The one taking her more than 5 hours flight time.
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress will appear over Pardubice for the first time since 1945, but this time with an empty bomb bay! This Mission will fit perfectly into the concept of this year's Aviation Fair: showing the activities of the U. S. Air Force over the protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in 1944-45
Photo below: B-17 No.42-38071 belonging to the 97th Bomb Group, after releasing its load of 20 pound cluster bombs on Pardubice airport.
Boeing B-17G-105-VE was one of the last pieces made in 1944 by the Lockheed-Vega plant in Burbank California under serial number 8693rd. It entered service in US Army Air Force (USAAF) under the tail number 44-85784 on 19th of June 1945, after the end of the World War II in Europe. In November of the same year, the aircraft was rebuilt in Nashville to version TB-17G and used for training purposes at Wright Field (now Wright-Patterson AFB) in Ohio.
In 1949, the aircraft began flying at the 2750th Air Base Group (ABG) and was again rebuilt to version EF-17G to serve for various research purpose until 1954, when was returned to its original configuration in Utah Hill, but with incomplete weaponry. Then it was, along with several other B-17, purchased by the French National Geographic Institute (IGN) flying under the civil registration F-BGSR, flighing from Creil airport on observation and mapping missions, until the early seventies when they were found to be unprofitable for this type of activity and replaced with specials Hurel-Dubois HD.34.
In March 1975 it was brought by businessman and pilot Ted White (as B-17 F-BGSR) to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, with temporary U. S. registration N17TE. This is where the new era of Sally-B started. She was named after his longtime companion Elly Sallingboe. Since the tragic death of Ted White in the wreck of Harvard T-6 in 1982, she still cares about this famous aeroplane with leading the bunch o enthusiasts at B-17 Preservation Ltd. Sally B was then fitted with the camouflage of the 457th Bomb Group, 8th U. S. Air Forces, that during the war were based in Glatton, but the original "tail number" 485,784 was retained.
B-17 N17TE after arrival at Biggin Hill just before she landed at her new home in Duxford, March 1975. Behind the controls is the founder pf the Sally B Supporters Club, Ted White. In his honor, the aeroplane still keeps the engine cowling of N.3 painted in yellow-black checkerboard pattern, after Harvard T-6, which Ted was flying during his accident at Great Warbirds Air Display (Gwada) in West Malling in 1982.
Down below detail view of Sally B right side nose section, with Memphis Belle theme, from the time of making the movie.
In 1989, Sally B played a major role in the blockbuster film adaptation of William Wyler's Memphis Belle, the first B-17 which has successfully completed 25 missions over enemy territory, along with two other B-17s from France and two from the U. S. A. Other roles wait for Sally B at Pardubice Aviation Fair, where she will perform two flight demonstrations (Saturday and Sunday) in the composed program devoted to activities of the USAF over the protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, especially to raids on Pardubice in 1944-45.