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390th Memorial Museum / B-17 Flying Fortress
390th Memorial Museum / B-17 Flying Fortress

The 390th Memorial Museum in Tucson, Arizona is a tribute to the airmen of the 390th Bombardment Group who served in World War II. The museum is a private research center for the Air Campaign Over Europe and houses a restored B-17G.

The B-17 “Flying Fortress” was designed, developed, and built by the Boeing Aircraft Corporation of Seattle, Washington in the late 1930s and early 1940s for the U.S. Army to be used in strategic heavy bombardment combat missions against enemy military targets during WWII. The B-17 went through eight model changes from the B-17A through the B-17G to increase payload, increase speed, add more guns, and increase the altitude at which it could fly. The last change was to add the chin turret with two additional guns to the B-17G to improve fighter protection.

The B-17G was equipped with twelve 50-caliber machine guns: two chin turret guns under the nose; two cheek guns, one on each side of the nose; two top turret guns behind the cockpit; two ball turret guns under the mid-section of the fuselage; two waist guns, one on each side behind the wing; and two tail guns.

A crew of ten operated the B-17G: a pilot, copilot, navigator, bombardier, radio operator, flight engineer/top turret gunner, ball turret gunner, two waist gunners, and a tail gunner.

Bombs were dropped at altitudes ranging from 20,000 feet to 30,000 feet. The inside of the B-17G was not pressurized, so it was necessary for each crew member to wear an oxygen mask at altitudes above 10,000 feet. Some heat was delivered to the inside of the airplane from the exhaust heat of the engines, but the crew members wore electrically heated clothing to protect themselves from high altitude temperatures often as much as 50 degrees below zero.

390th Memorial Museum / B-17 Flying Fortress

Length 74' 4"
Height 19' 1"
Wingspan 103' 10"
Wing Area 1420 Sq Ft
Empty Weight 36135 lbs
Gross Weight 65500 lbs
No. of Engines 4
Power Plant Wright R-1820-97 Cyclone
Horsepower (each) 1200
Range 3400 miles
Max Speed 287 Mph
Ceiling 35,600 Ft

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390th Memorial Museum