B-17 Grounding Expected

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MIflyer

2nd Lieutenant
5,411
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May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
From Avwebflash:

"Last Saturday (April 15), the Yankee Air Museum announced it was grounding its World War II-vintage Boeing B-17G "Yankee Lady" in anticipation of an FAA Airworthiness Directive (AD), expected within a few weeks. Online sources, including a detailed article at Aerovintage.com, anticipate the AD will likely ground all currently flying B-17s due to "wing spar issues" cited by the Yankee Air Museum."
 
Don't know, but if you do need to fix it, where are you going to get a new B-17 spar and what will it take to put it in?
The BoB Memorial Flight Lancaster PA474 was resparred over the course of a winter season in 1995. But the biggest problem proved to be getting hold of the correct materials to do it. Fortunately some old metal produced for the Shackleton was found to do the job.

No such option with the B-17 though.
 
The last B-17 I know of that was "built" was done by Reilly's in Kissimmee FL. The Bradley Air Museum got hit by a tornado and the Reilly people went up to help fix things. In returen they were given the remains of a B-17 that had been used as an engine testbed by P&W. The tornado had crushed the waist section. Some how they managed to transport the forward fuselage and wings, still assembled, to their facility in FL. Then they found a B-17 waist section that ha been bought shortly after WWII, wrapped in tarpaper, and used as a playhouse for children and grandchildren. They put it all back together just in time to be hit by Hurricane Charley in 2004. Their facility was all but destroyed but the B-17 survived. They moved to Douglas GA where they rebuilt that XP-82.
 
Does this affect the other B-17's registered and flown in the U.S.? I was not aware how few airworthy B-17's remain here, and I am guessing Sally B in the UK is the only other one in the world. As much as I love seeing and hearing them fly at airshows, we might be getting close to the time that they are run up and taxied from now on- they are so precious few now! So sad that Liberty Belle, Nine-0-Nine, and Texas Raiders are gone now.
Mike
 
Does this affect the other B-17's registered and flown in the U.S.? I was not aware how few airworthy B-17's remain here, and I am guessing Sally B in the UK is the only other one in the world. As much as I love seeing and hearing them fly at airshows, we might be getting close to the time that they are run up and taxied from now on- they are so precious few now! So sad that Liberty Belle, Nine-0-Nine, and Texas Raiders are gone now.
Mike
It'll likely affect ALL flying B-17's worldwide. With a few exceptions, state of design AD's are generally accepted without too much questioning.
The CAF in Arizona put a new wing spar in their B-17 35+ years back, so it isn't impossible. They got zero help from Boeing.
Probably better without their 'input'.
 
Boeing told them (hearsay from several people at Falcon Field, Mesa, Arizona) the airplane was designed 70 years ago with a life expectancy of 90 hours and you want help flying it?! That's too much liability!

What did they mean by 90 hours? Is that 90 hours of operating at low takeoff weights and lower altitudes? Or 90 hours of operating with a 65,000 lb gross take-off weight and flying for hours at 25,000 feet? And being shot at by flak and/or enemy fighters?
 
What did they mean by 90 hours?
The USAAF planned for 25 missions for each crew because they calculated they would last no longer than that.

The Soviets did not worry about long TBO's for their aircraft engines because they figured they would not last very long in combat. The same design practice was even carried over into their airliners. They'd rather build a new one than fix the old one.
 
That's survival hours in combat. They figured most would be down or too damaged to continue flying by then. That was 40+ years ago. It could have been a bit less hours. 70 - 90 sticks in my mind. The main idea is they didn't want the liability of helping them to fly an old airplane.

Now that liability is terminated at 20 years, perhaps they'd be more inclined to help, unless liability restarts if they assist with a rebuild?
 
Does this affect the other B-17's registered and flown in the U.S.? I was not aware how few airworthy B-17's remain here, and I am guessing Sally B in the UK is the only other one in the world. As much as I love seeing and hearing them fly at airshows, we might be getting close to the time that they are run up and taxied from now on- they are so precious few now! So sad that Liberty Belle, Nine-0-Nine, and Texas Raiders are gone now.
Mike
There are a total of 5 B-17s worldwide currently certified as airworthy, 4 of which are in the US (including Yankee Lady), with 7 more undergoing restoration to airworthiness.
 

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