B17-specifications needed.......

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Mar 8, 2006
Traverse City, MI
I stumbled upon this site while searching for information on the B-17. I am in the process of producing an animated short that revolves around a B-17 and its crew.
I want the aircraft in particular to be as accurate as possible, to avoid continuity problems, and also as a preventative measure to not disservice the people who were in direct relation to the plane.

I mainly need details about how the ship flew: what formations were typical for them, what planes accompanied them, how cramped was the ball turret- etc. ---small details-- would be greatly appreciated.

Also any information on the interior of the aircraft would be helpful, gunner positions, cockpit layout, and the interior of the ball turret is of special interest to me.

I really don't know much about this plane, and I really want to "get to know it" before I start any character writing/animation on it.

Thank you all in advance for your support!

Formations (sources on right click):










Specs: http://www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/URG/b17fortress.html

Cockpit Layout (thanks Eric :D)


Planes that accompanied them: B-24, P-51, P-38, P-47.
If you could get a copy of Flying Fortress by Edward Jablonski, I think many of your questions could be answered. Here's some more information....

I've been inside a ball turret, its very cramped and would suit someone about 5'5". You're basically on you're back and the gun site is right in front of you. Foot and hand pedals moved the turret around...

Here's a CAF link about the ball turret, there tons of stuff on the Internet, especially crew members diaries...

Wow-What a wealth of information!

Thank you for all the great material gnomey, flyboy, and evanglider. The shots of the flight formations and interior views were most helpful. The plane is a lot more cramped than I had imagined. And the ball turret would be almost unbearably claustrophobic for some people.

How would the crew communicate with each other? I would imagine that the engine noise would be immense due to its non pressurized interior space, and the fact that they are REALLY big engines too! I would assume that they used some kind of radio feed to communicate.....
You're quite welcome....

They communicated through an intercom system that was installed on the aircraft. Headsets were used and a "throat mike" was used to speak.
guys yes continue this thread to eternity if you would. post tons of "now" pics inside a B-17. I've got a load as well from some years ago, I'll see if I can get them scanned into the drive. Can say the three times I have been through them what a narrow fuselage, almost cramped going back to the waist position and finally the narrow dark tail position. All I can say is that those guys had balls flying in those heaps being fired on by Luftw. a/c and Flak
Yes- more interior shots would be helpful, mainly of the ball turret. It would be appreciated.
--crewmans diaries? sounds interesting.......
Let me go through what I have. I don't know if I have many of the ball turret. They are usually closed off because they are pretty cramped and they like to keep the crumb crunchers out of them. But I am pretty sure I took one shot through the outside glass.

The intercom system had a junction box with a jack on it that the crewman would patch into when in position. I think I have a shot of a j-box too.
So I went out seeking on my airplane pics DVD archive. I have 96 pictures that are just interior shots of the B-17 (3 different B-17s). I have sorted them into a temp directory on my laptop and will go through and crop, enhance and edit the images.

You gave me a heck of an idea. I have had several requests of closeups and different parts of the "guts" of airplanes. I think what I am going to do is start a modeller's section of my website for these kinds of more specialized photos. I have access to quite a few warbirds and if I can help a modeller do a more acurate depiction of an airplane, then it would be pretty cool. I will start editting the B-17s photos first as a beta and work from there.

Sound good, guys?
yeah i do like looking at walk around guides, although my moddeling's not accurate enough to actually need them :lol: just a question about the B-17's/all american intercoms, british wireless operaters could wire up any crew memeber's intercom to actually broadcast what they're saying, so if the w/o hooked you up, anyone could contact base in the event of an emergency, was this possible with the american system?
You guys are very supportive on this forum, and for that I thank you.
The animation I am doing is based on an actual event in which a B-17 was brought down after allied bombs ripped through the rear stabilizer and other parts of the plane. It was a freak accident that happened after a formation crossed under bombs being released from fellow B-17's and by accounts fell straight down to the earth. I am not one for a sad ending so I decided it would be neat to make it more like a Twilight Zone episode wherein the plane is saved by the painted insignia which specified the airships name "the lady liberty". It is important for me to be very anal when it comes to small details because I want it to come across as more real than fantasy. You guys are making it so much easier for me to achieve this!
That is a classic case of the lower formation being in the wrong slot. They were staggered to avoid that, but obviously, with that many bombers up there, mistakes get made.

Give me a few days to get some edits done and I will get the interior shots up.
I am not completely sure, but I do believe it was possible. I know the wireless operator could patch a pilot through to the radio channel, but am unsure about the rest of the crew. I know that they could at least receive the traffic to send to all stations in the aircraft, just unsure about whether or not they could all transmit out.
well any more info you've got on them? how big where they? how easy were they to use? did the americans use them much? because most source's i've read have said the British R1155 and T1154 together form one of the best radio systems of the day..........

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