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Here's the Boeing B-17 "Sentimental Journey" Sitting Pretty in a Hangar

Airplanes may be significantly different from automobiles, but the two share quite a few things. The fact that both require regular maintenance is one of them. If you're into vintage planes as much as you're into classic cars, here's a very special Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress waiting for its annual inspection in a hangar.
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress "Sentimental Journey" 7 photos
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As an iconic nameplate that's only 13 years away from celebrating a century since its first flight, the B-17 is special no matter which of the 12,000+ examples built we're talking about. But "Sentimental Journey" gets extra credit for one of the very few that remain airworthy.

Just like the other Flying Fortresses that are still active, "Sentimental Journey" was never flown in combat, but it's been getting plenty of action in the 21st century thanks to the volunteers at the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) museum in Arizona.

And not only it's being flown on an annual tour circuit, but you can also take a ride in it. It will cost you $425 on a waist compartment seat and $850 if you want a bombardier or navigator seat in the nose, but hey, it's one of those bucket-list rides you need to check if you're a Flying Fortress buff.

To fly regularly, "Sentimental Journey" also needs thorough annual inspections. And the video below shows this bomber sitting quietly in a massive hangar to have every nut, bolt, and piece of equipment checked before it can hit the air again.

You'll also get a glimpse of B-17 "I'll Be Around," yet another Fortress that never flew into actual combat. This bomber is no longer in use, but it's also spending its retirement as a display piece in Arizona.

The iconic B-17 Flying Fortress took its first flight in July 1935 and went into production in 1936. Boeing built more than 12,000 units until 1945 with primary users including the U.S. Army Air Forces and the Royal Air Force.

The B-17 was primarily employed by the USAAF in the strategic bombing campaign of World War II against Germany, but many Flying Fortresses were also used in the Pacific Theater. Following the end of WWII, the B-17 was phased out as an Army bomber but remained in use for air-sea rescue and as a photo-mapping aircraft.

As for "Sentimental Journey," it was completed in late 1944 and incorporated into the USAAF fleet in March 1945. It was assigned to the Pacific Theater, but it was placed in storage in Japan until 1947. The Boeing B-17 returned to the U.S. in 1950, when it was converted to air-sea rescue duty.

It was used in "Operation Greenhouse" in 1951 and then spent 18 years as a forest fire fighting plane across the U.S. The B-17 was donated to the newly-founded Commemorative Air Force in 1978. That's when it got the "Sentimental Journey" name and the Betty Grable graphics on the nose. The name is a tribute to a popular song released by Doris Day in 1945.

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