“Sentimental Journey” is a beautifully restored Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress. Operated by the Commemorative Air Force in Mesa Arizona and it’s been a favorite at airshows around the country. At airshows she attends, guest can purchase rides or take a tour through the aircraft. Classified as a heavy bomber by the Army Air Force during World War II the G model of the B-17 can be easily identified by its distinctive remotely operated chin turret. Over 8,600 B-17G’s were built during the 2nd world war. This one was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company in 1944 and upon completion was assigned to the pacific theater of operations. For several years after the war it was a photo reconnaissance aircraft in the pacific. It was then converted to a remotely operated drone for monitoring of A-bomb testing in the pacific Atolls. Afterwards, it ended its military career and was retired to Davis Monthan air force base for salvage. Before being scraped, it was purchased by a private company, converted into a water tanker and started a new career as a fire bomber. In 1978 she was donated to the Commemorative Air Force in Mesa Arizona. They restored it to its original B-17G configuration and the restoration project was completed in 1985. Instead of OD green paint it was given a bare aluminum finish. The nose was painted with a pinup of Betty Grable and the aircraft was named “Sentimental Journey”. To see where “Sentimental Journey” is today, go to flightaware.com and type in her registration N9323Z.
Boeing B-17G Specifications:
Crew of 10
Armament 13 .50 caliber Browning M-2 machine guns
Maximum bomb load 8,000 lbs
Powered by four Wright Cyclone R-1820-97 supercharged radial engines 1,200 horse power each
TAS at 25,000 ft. 287 mph
Maximum takeoff weight 64,500 lbs.
Service ceiling 35,600 ft.
Range 3,750 miles with Bomb bay tanks
Fuel 2,780 gallons/burn 200 gal hour
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four engine bomber with a crew of 10 that the Army Air force flew during the Second World War. Used primarily during the European air war, the B-17 could carry up to 8,000 lbs of bombs and with a reduced bomb load had a maximum range of 2,000 miles. Its four Wright R-1820-97 Cyclone turbo supercharged radial engines produced 1,200 horsepower each. Its max speed is 287 mph and it has a service ceiling of 35,600 ft. Named the flying fortress it was heavily armed with 13 .50 cal M2 machine guns. The top instrument panel is from N390TH “liberty Belle” a B-17G which was lost on June 13,2011 just outside Aurora Illinois. “Liberty Belle had just departed Aurora when a fire broke out in the number 2 engine. Unable to extinguish the fire the crew made a forced landing in a farmer’s field and the ensuing fire destroyed the aircraft. Fortunately, all aboard made it out safely and no one was injured. The second instrument panel is from N3509G a B-17G named “Miss Angela”. The Palm Springs Air Museum is home for “Miss Angela”. Both aircraft are g models which have the twin .50 cal. chin turrets built into the lower nose. Boeing built over 8,600 B-17G’s and only twelve of these are still flyable.