Duxford - Outdoor Displays - Page 1

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     2 : IWM Duxford History
     3 : Indoor Displays
    4 : Outdoor Displays

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The B-17 Flying Fortress G-BEDF, 'Sally B', is the last remaining airworthy B-17 in Europe.
The plane flies regularly at air shows, memorial flypasts and commemorative events as a memorial to the USAAF in Europe.

Since 1982, 'Sally B' has been operated by Elly Sallingboe of B-17 Preservation with the help of a dedicated team of volunteers and the backing of one of the largest supporters clubs of its kind in the world - the 'Sally B' Supporters Club. 'Sally B' is permanently based at the Imperial War Museum Duxford (although it is not part of the IWM collection) and it is on static display when not flying.

The following edited information is taken from the 'Official Sally B Website' with acknowledgement. The site may be accessed here.

"Built as a Boeing B-17G-105-VE, the future Sally B was one of the last to be constructed by the Lockheed-Vega plant at Burbank, California. Accepted by the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) as 44-85784 on June 19 1945 it was too late to see war service, and was flown to Nashville for modifications. Converted for training purposes and re-designated TB-17G it was later based at Wright Field (now Wright-Patterson AFB), Ohio from November of that year.

"Continuing in the care of 2750th Air Base Group (ABG) '784 was selected for use as a research vehicle and in 1949 was used in a variety of research roles. In France the Institut Geographic National (IGN) had purchased several B-17s after the war for survey and mapping work, and added others as necessary. '784 joined them in November 1954 and was given the French registration F-BGSR. Based at Creil, these aircraft carried out work for the French government and others for many years.

"Businessman and pilot, Ted White brought F-BGSR to Britain via Biggin Hill to the Imperial War Museum Duxford, as N17TE in March 1975 to begin a new life as Sally B (named after Ted's long-time companion Elly Sallingboe). Sally B made her debut at the 1975 Biggin Hill Air Fair, flying as the USAAF World War Two Memorial Flight.

"In order to operate the aircraft successfully, an engineering support group was set up and many volunteered their help to work on the aircraft. A permanent operating base was set up at Duxford, which, at that time, was an up and coming centre for aircraft preservation operated by the Imperial War Museum. In 1981, Sally B was introduced to a wider audience through her first TV role as B-17 Ginger Rogers in London Weekend Television's (LWT) 'We'll Meet Again' which was filmed at West Malling airfield and surrounding Kent villages.

"In 1982 tragedy struck. Ted was killed when his T-6 Harvard, G-ELLY, crashed during an air rally in Malta. In his memory Sally B's starboard inner engine cowling will always carry the same black and yellow chequered markings as his Harvard.

"It was also a tremendous setback when Sally B suffered a series of engine problems during 1998 culminating in an enforced stay in Guernsey for nine months.

"After a long wait over the winter months and lengthy negotiations, the replacement engine arrived and was fitted to the stranded B-17. Following ground runs and an air test Sally B took off for home and arrived back at Duxford on April 22 1999.

"Immediately on arrival the aircraft was once again grounded through lack of funds; there was now no money left. Elly was determined to find an alternative way forward and Sally B was not for sale.

"It took time before charitable status was granted but the B-17 Charitable Trust came into being in March 2000. In a special partnership, Sally B became the official flagship of the American Air Museum in Britain which forms part of the Imperial War Museum complex."

'Sally B' (while also known as 'Memphis Belle') has played a major part in the following films and television productions:

'Memphis Belle' (film) Warner Brothers
'Black Book' (film) Warner Brothers
'Noah's Ark' (film) Walt Disney
'Bomber Crew' (tv) Channel 4
'It Ain't Half Hot Mum' (tv) BBC
'Over Here' (tv) BBC
'Walter Cronkite' (tv) Discovery Channel
'We'll Meet Again' (tv) LWT

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