B-17 Flying Fortress Mystery: B-17F with WASP Unit

Original image caption: Their planes are ready, and the Wasps break off their conversations about flying. Soon they will be at the controls of a Flying Fortress on a gunnery mission in the sub-stratosphere over Florida.

B-17F with WASP Unit

Source: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/176250902

B-17F with WASP Unit Details

While browsing the US National Archives (NARA) I discovered a picture of a B-17F and female pilots. These are Women Airforce Service Pilots, WASP for short.

As is often the case, the tail fin with the serial number is not visible from this perspective. An enlargement, with the hope to make the serial number recognizable, also brought no new insights.

The upper turret of this B-17F is remarkable, which was rather used on the B-26 and B-24. The reason why this type of turret was used on this B-17 is not known.

Another noticeable feature is the darker area in the nose, where usually a nose paint can be seen. Apparently the nose paint was painted over on this B-17.

Searched and found

Flip Marches from the Facebook group “flying fortress 1936 1945” thinks that this is a B-17 from the production block B-17F-130-BO. Spontaneously it occurred to me that I simply check all existing B-17s with picture in this production block.

And there it was. The picture of B-17F #42-30949. Notice the nose painting in the shape of a kangaroo. It has the same shape as the painted over areas of the B-17 I’m looking for, so I’m pretty sure the picture with the female pilots shows B-17F #42-30949 / Jumpin’ Jive.

Boeing B-17F-130-BO (S/N 42-30949) “Jumpin’ Jive.” (U.S. Air Force photo)

Published: 22. March 2021 / Last updated: 31. July 2021

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