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B-17 First Flight 74 Years Ago - 28th July 1935

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The design competition for a 'Multi-engined' bomber starting in 1934 ( at the time, 'Multi-engined' meant a twin, but Boeing thought differently ). Roll out ceremony of the Boeing 299 was 17th July 1935, with the first flight 28th. The prototype was destroyed in a take off crash during the Army competition resulting in the B-18 Bolo winning the contract. The crash was caused by the aircrew failing to remove the flying control gust locks. As a result, the B-17 became the first aircraft to have a pre-flight check list.


However, the army had been sufficiently impressed with the design and ordered 13 in service prototypes which became known as the YB-17 entering service in 1937. This put the B-17 in operation while the RAF was flying Whitleys, Wellingtons and Hampdens!!!





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