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B-17 Flying Fortress Assembly Plants and Production Numbers

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress four-engine heavy bomber is one of the most famous, and successful, airplanes ever built. The B-17 received the name "Flying Fortress" from a Seattle news reporter who commented on its defensive firepower, and said "It's a Flying Fortress".

Nose art on B-17F Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle"

The original intent for the B-17 was the protection of the U.S. mainland from invasion fleets. In 1934, the Boeing Aircraft Company of Seattle, Washington, began construction of a four-engine heavy bomber. Known as Boeing Model 299, it first took flight on July 28, 1935.

The government ordered production of 13 of these aircraft, designated the Y1B-17. Delivery of these first production models was between January 11 and August 4, 1937.

When Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese on December 7, 1941, few B-17s were in service. But production lines quickly ramped up.

Specifications: B-17G (final production model)

Armament: 13 .50-cal. machine guns; normal bomb load of 6,000 lbs.
Engines: Four Wright Cyclone R-1820s of 1,200 hp each
Maximum speed:
300 mph
Cruising speed: 170 mph
Range: 1,850 miles
Ceiling: 35,000 ft.
Span: 103 ft. 10 in.
Length: 74 ft. 4 in.
Height: 19 ft. 1 in.
Weight: 55,000 lbs. loaded 

B-17 Flying Fortress Production Recap by Model and Assembly Plant

Production ended in May 1945 and totaled 12,731. They were built by Boeing in Seattle (BO), Douglas Aircraft Co. (DL) in Long Beach, CA and Vega Aircraft Corp. (VE) in Burbank, CA.

The table shown below represents a recap of B-17 Flying Fortress production by model, and by manufacturing plant:

B-17 Model
Boeing
Seattle (BO)
Douglas
Long Beach (DL)
Vega
Burbank (VE)
Production
Numbers
299, YB-17, B-17A
15
15
B-17B
39
39
B-17C
38
38
B-17D
42
42
B-17E
512
512
B-17F
2,300
605
500
3,405
B-17G
4,035
2,395
2,250
8,680
Total
6,981
3,000
2,750
12,731


Storage and Disposal of B-17 Flying Fortresses After World War II

Aerial view of military aircraft in storage in 1946 Aerial view of military aircraft in storage in 1946

Following the end of World War II, the B-17 was quickly phased out of use as a bomber and the Army Air Forces retired most of its fleet.

Flight crews ferried the bombers back across the Atlantic and Pacific to the United States

The majority of the planes were sold for scrap and melted down at disposal depots such as Kingman Army Air Field in Arizona.

Read more about B-17 storage in desert boneyards and scrapping after World War II.

B-17 Flying Fortress Model Evolution

Y1B17-A ... the Boeing B-17 Prototype

Y1B17-A

B-17B Flying Fortress

Boeing B-17B Flying Fortress

B-17C Flying Fortress 404029

Boeing B-17C Flying Fortress

B-17D Flying Fortress

Boeing B-17D Flying Fortress

B-17E Flying Fortress 41-9061

B-17E Flying Fortress 41-9061

 

 

B-17F Flying Fortress S/N 42-30043

B-17F S/N 42-30043

B-17G Flying Fortress "Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby"

B-17G Flying Fortress "Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby"

B-17 Photo From the Louisiana History Museum

B-17 Flying Fortress in World War II
B-17 Flying Fortress in World War II