Boeing B-17B

 

The B-17B (299M) was the first production model of the B-17, and was essentially a B-17A with a larger rudder, larger flaps, and a redesigned nose and 1,200 hp (895 kW) R-1820-51 engines. The gun turret in the upper nose was replaced with a flexible .30 in (7.62 mm) machine gun at its extreme tip, and the bomb-aiming window was replaced with an optical flat in the lower part of the nose fairing.

In the interior of the plane, crew members were rearranged. Many internal systems were revised. Most notable of these was a switch from pneumatic to hydraulic brakes.

In October 1942 all planes of the B-17B designation were redesignated RB-17B, R- indicating 'restricted'. The RB-17B was used for training, transport, messenger, and liaison duties. It was in effect a designation of obsolescence.

The "B" series made its maiden flight on June 27, 1939. 39 were built in a single production run, but Army Air Corps serial numbers were scattered over several batches. This was because of limited funding: the Army Air Corps could only buy a few B-17Bs at a time.

 

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