Aviation History

All Airworthy B-17 Flying Fortress Warbirds expected to be Grounded by Coming FAA Airworthiness Directive

On Apr. 15, 2023 the Yankee Air Museum, owner of Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress Yankee Lady, announced that it has grounded the plane with immediate effect.

On Apr. 15, 2023 the Yankee Air Museum, owner of Boeing B-17G 44-85829, (N3193G) to most people known as ‘Yankee Lady’, announced that it has grounded the plane with immediate effect, as reported by Scramble Magazine.

Recent inspections of other B-17s have revealed wing spar issues, the Yankee Air Museum said on its Facebook page.

“Hello, The Yankee Air Museum decided to proactively cease flight operations of the B-17G Flying Fortress ‘Yankee Lady.’ Recent inspections of other B-17s have discovered wing spar issues. As a result, we expect a mandatory Airworthiness Directive to be issued by the FAA in the next few weeks regarding the matter. Out of an abundance of caution, we are temporarily ceasing our B-17 flight operations and awaiting direction from the FAA regarding necessary inspections and repairs that will be required. It is expected that the B-17 will not fly during the 2023 flying season. Please note that this only affects the B-17.”

According to AVweb, the announcement added that those who had scheduled “Air Adventure” rides on “Yankee Lady” would receive refunds and assured that its B-25, C-47, and Bell UH-1 “Huey” helicopter will continue to fly with passengers. A 25-minute ride on the B-17 is priced at $525 ($425 for museum members) according to the museum’s website.

As a result, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will issue a mandatory Airworthiness Directive (AD) in the next few weeks regarding the matter. This AD could be the result of what has been found on the Experimental Aircraft Association owned B-17G, 44-85740 (N5017N/‘Aluminum Overcast’), wing attach structure that caused it to be grounded in April 2021.

Operators have been notified to fly their B-17’s to whatever location they wish before the AD becomes effective and the aircraft can’t fly given that the directive of the FAA is forthcoming.

There are currently only four operational B-17s left. Even though the complete airframes may be 46 (with 18 of them registered in the US), most of them are being restored or used as display pieces, Aero Vintage says.

Most probably the measure will not only affect the last airworthy US based B-17s ‘Ye Olde Pub’ (N3701G) and Sentimental Journey(N9323Z), but also the British ‘Sally B’ (G-BEDF).

On Nov. 12, 2022 B-17G Flying Fortress ‘Texas Raiders’ crashed at Dallas Executive Airport (RBD) during Wings Over Dallas Air Show. Texas Raiders crashed after a collision with a P-63 King Cobra. Six people were killed in the accident. The B-17G destroyed in the collision was the fifth Flying Fortress in flying condition.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. B-17G Flying Fortress – 42-31076, LG-V “Chief Sly’s Son” 91st BG, 322nd BS – 1944

Photo credit: Pete Markham from Loretto, USA via Wikipedia

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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