May 08, 2007

This Flying Fortress is a 'Sentimental Journey'

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress may be the most famous aircraft ever produced. For the allies in World War II, it was certainly one of the most important.

So visitors to the Pacific Coast Dream Machines Sunday flocked to the "Sentimental Journey" for a trip into the nation's aviation past.

The first B-17s went to war under direction of the British, who employed the airplanes in high-altitude missions. Eventually engineers augmented the plane's armor. The B-17E carried nine machine guns, a 4,000-pound bomb load and an unusual tail design that increased the plane's stability at altitude.

The "Sentimental Journey" never saw action in World War II. The military didn't take possession of it until 1945. The plane was assigned to the Pacific theater and moved from Japan to the Philippines in 1947. After a stint in Florida, it was retired to civilian status in 1959.

In 1978 the "Sentimental Journey" was donated to the Arizona Wing Commemorative Air Force, which flew the plane to Half Moon Bay.


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