I do not have any photos of the "Liberty Belle", instead here is the Collings Foundations B-17G, "Nine 0 Nine", which I have the hounour to fly in when I am a volunteer on the "Wings of Freedom Tour"
The story of the B-17G "Liberty Belle"
On September 9, 1944 the 390th Bomb Group attacked a target in Dusseldorf, Germany and suffered its second largest single mission loss of the war. Over the target just prior to bomb release, one of the low squadron B-17s was hit in the Bomb bay by flak. The 1000 lb. bombs exploded and nine of the twelve aircraft in the squadron were instantly destroyed or knocked out of formation.
Six of the nine went down over the target, one flew two hours on a single engine and landed at Paris, another "crippled plane" landed in Belgium and the other struggled back to its home base and landed long after the other thirty nine B-17s had returned from the mission. The one that came home was "Liberty Belle", she went on to complete 64 combat missions before being salvaged on February 18, 1945.
The story about the "Liberty Belle" from the Liberty Foundation.
The Liberty Foundation’s B-17G (SN 44-85734) has an interesting post-war history. Originally sold on June 25, 1947 as scrap to Esperado Mining Co. of Altus, OK, it sold again later that year to Pratt & Whitney for $2,700. Pratt & Whitney operated the B-17 from November 19, 1947 to 1967 as a heavily modified test bed for their P&W T-34 and T-64 turboprop engines. It became a “5-engine aircraft”, having the powerful prototype engine mounted on the nose! The aircraft was flown “single-engine”, with all four radial engines feathered during test flights.
See a photo of this aircraft here!
Following this life as a test platform, it was donated in the late 1960s to the Connecticut Aeronautical Historic Association in East Hartford. Unfortunately, it was heavily damaged in 1979 while at the CAHA’s Bradley Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. On October 3, 1979 a tornado caused another aircraft to be thrown onto the B-17’s mid-section, breaking the fuselage. The wreck was stored in the New England Air Museum, CT from 1981 until 1987. After which it underwent a 15 year restoration to become flyable again.
See Flyvertosset's Gallery here!
Read the Canadian Airline Blog here!