B-17 Flying Fortress Survivors: Virgin's Delight
B-17G Flying Fortress "Virgin's Delight" S/N 43-38635
This B-17G Flying Fortress is on static display outside at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, California.
It is painted with the markings of the 94th Bombardment Group, which was under the command of Colonel Frederick Walker Castle from 1943 to 1944. After a promotion to Brigadier General, Castle was in command of the 4th Combat Bombardment Wing until he was killed while flying a mission over France. Six of the crew were able to bail out and survive before the B-17 exploded, killing Castle and his co-pilot. For his heroism, Castle was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. Castle Air Force Base (1941-1977) was also named in his honor.
This aircraft's most recent service before coming to the Castle Air Museum in 1979 was use as a borate fire bomber to fight forest fires, based at Tulare. The B-17 carries the WWII markings of the 94th Bombardment Group, 3rd Air Division, 8th Air Force. The aircraft displays the name Lt. Gen. James P. Mullins below cockpit on left side of plane, and Col. James P. McCarthy on right side. The name S/SGT Ken Kneff, gunner, is displayed above the belly turret and CMS (chief master sergeant) Jerre H. Albright, gunner, is displayed on the tail gun turret.
The photos below of "Virgin's Delight" were taken during our last visit to Atwater in May of 2012.
Other Surviving B-17 Flying Fortresses
A total of 40 surviving B-17 airframes are located in the United States. Nine (9) B-17s are still airworthy today. An additional eighteen (18) B-17s are on static display around the United States, and thirteen (13) aircraft are undergoing restoration or are in storage.
Seven (7) more B-17s are located in the UK, France and Brazil.
B-17 Flying Fortress "Virgin's Delight" Photos by the Author
B-17G Flying Fortress "Virgin's Delight" - S/N 43-38635 - at the Castle Air Museum, Atwater, California