Europe’s last airworthy WW2 B-17 plane cleared to fly again after FAA grounding

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B
Alan Wilson /

Europe’s last surviving and working B-17, Sally B, has been given permission to fly again after the Second World War American aircraft was grounded in May 2023.  

The B-17 Preservation charity that looks after the plane, known as the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, confirmed the news that the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had given the team the go-ahead to fly her once again.  

The charity is headed by Elly Sallingboe, who with her deceased companion, Ted White, formed the organization in 1979 to operate and raise funds to keep the last remaining B-17 in the UK flying. 

In May 2023, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an airworthiness directive to B-17 operators, to check the main spar fittings for cracks after a fault was found on a B-17 based in the United States (US). 

The directive essentially grounded the aircraft just as the charity was approaching the 2023 flying season, an important period for Sally B to raise funds.  

“Because Sally B had left her winter home in hangar T2 North at Imperial War Museum, Duxford a few weeks earlier, we now urgently needed hangar space to complete the checks. And guess what – the Imperial War Museum came to our rescue allowing our B-17 into their vast Airspace Hangar, thank You IWM,” Elly Sallingboe wrote. 

She added: “Once inside, the volunteer Sally B engineering team led by Chief Engineer Daryl Taplin and his deputy Steve Carter stepped up, and soon the wing spar was ready to be inspected by the “Non-Destructive Testing” specialists.” 

Once repairs were completed Elly Sallingboe contacted the CAA and FAA with the results and to the team’s delight were granted permission to fly the aircraft again.  

The Boeing B-17 heavy bomber was used extensively during the Second World War and took part in thousands of raids over Europe from its US bases in the United Kingdom (UK). 

Sally B is due to next appear at the 2023 Battle of Britain Airshow on June 30, 2023, after appearing at Duxford Summer Air Show on June 24, 2023.  

Related Posts

AeroTime is on YouTube

Subscribe to the AeroTime Hub channel for exclusive video content.

Subscribe to AeroTime Hub