This restored Flying Fortress is on display indoors at the 390th Memorial Museum located on the grounds of the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona. It is a treasure of World War II images, memorabilia, and personal histories of the achievements of the 390th Bombardment Group(H), an Eighth Air Force unit that was based in England from 1943-1945.
The B-17s flown by the 390th bombed the coast of Normandy before the ground landings; cut German supply lines during the Battle of the Bulge; dropped food supplies to the Dutch the week before Victory in Europe Day and transported prisoners of war back to their homeland. From 1943–1945, the group flew 301 combat missions over Europe with a loss of 181 aircraft. 714 men sacrificed their life during the war while 731 men were captured and held as POWs.
The B-17G-110-VE 44-85828 (#828), which came to be known as “I’ll Be Around,” was one of the last B-17 planes produced by the Vega Division of Lockheed. She was produced at a time when the Army had more B-17s than it could use. #828 was placed into AAF storage, but the rest was brief. In 1945, she became one of seventeen Fortresses transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard for long-range patrol and air-sea rescue duty.
Her final duties as an aerial firefighter were with Globe Aviation of Mesa, Arizona from 1978 to 1980. In 1980 the airplane was traded to the U.S.A.F. Museum where she once again became B-17G-110-VE 44-85828.
A total of 39 surviving B-17 airframes are located in the United States. Eight (8) B-17s are still airworthy today. An additional eighteen (18) B-17s are on static display around the United States, and thirteen (13) aircraft are undergoing restoration or are in storage.
Seven (7) more B-17s are located in the UK, France and Brazil.
B-17 Flying Fortress "I'll Be Around" Photos from the Airplanes Online Archives
Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "I'll Be Around" at the 390th Memorial Museum, Tucson
Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "I'll Be Around" ... S/N 231892