I’ve added an unusually large 41-photo gallery of Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress 44-8543 “Chuckie” to the in-progress B-17 page. This is from a visit to the plane’s then-owner, the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia on October 3, 2012. Sometimes you just happen upon a really nice airplane in a picturesque environment and decent conditions with almost no other folks around. This was one of those times. Chuckie was parked in the middle of MAM’s turf runway at its private strip in Virginia Beach, awaiting a VIP visit or film crew. The weather progressed from overcast to broken cloud, allowing me to get shots in direct sun and in diffused light, with reasonably interesting skies.
This is about the best that Chuckie has looked, or will look for the foreseeable future, as a restored warbird. MAM had acquired the aircraft in 2010 from the estate of its original restorer, William D. Hospers of Texas, who had it painted ever since 1979 in a basically accurate 832nd Bomb Squadron, 486th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force paint scheme but with the ahistorical name “Chuckie” in tribute to his wife Charlyn. MAM did considerable work on the aircraft during its short period of ownership, including installing gun turrets and accurate interior details, some of them visible in these photos. In 2013, this machine was sold to the Erickson Collection of Madras, Oregon, which has repainted it in inaccurate markings and not-very-period-looking nose art as “Madras Maiden.”
I don’t get lathered up over the replacement of relatively accurate paint schemes with less accurate ones on preserved aircraft the way some people on internet forums do, but the new paint is decidedly inferior, so I’m thankful I got the chance to get these images.