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B-17 Flying Fortress

28 May 1945 - Delivered from the Douglas Aircraft Company - Long Beach, California.
31 May 1945 - Received by the Maintenance Division, Syracuse Army Air Base, New York - placed into storage having flown 20hrs 25mins.
2 Nov 1945 - A further 35mins were flown before the aircraft was dropped from the USAAF inventory by transfer to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation Altus AAF Oklahoma.
17 Feb 1947- Sold to Industrialist Colonel Andres Soriano for $13,750 on behalf of Transocean Air Lines
21 Feb 1947- Sent to Altus and accepted by Captain Samuel L Wilson
22 May 1947 - Registered to Transocean Air Lines of Oakland Municipal Airport, California as NL68269. Fitted with a seven seat lounge in the nose position, toilet, buffet with drinks cabinet, refrigerator and office. Extra fuel tanks were installed in the bomb bay and new autopilot fitted. Used exclusively for Andres Soriano on regular flights between Oakland and Manila, and on one occasion a round the world trip from San Francisco (Oakland) -
Honolulu-Wake Island-Guam-Manila-Bangkok-New Delhi-Karachi-Cairo-Rome-Bordeaux-Paris-Bordeaux- Shannon- Keflavik-Gander-New York-Oakland.
14 Oct 1949 - Purchased by General Council of the Assemblies of God Inc, Springfield, Missouri.
28 Oct 1949 - Registered to the Assemblies of God and renamed Ambassador II. (replacing Ambassador I, a Curtiss C46 Commando, having longer range and greater four engine capacity) Flew missionaries to South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. The nose eventually carried names of 38 countries which Ambassador II had visited in its first year of operation.
20 July 1951 - A bill of sale to Albert J Leeward. The sale was forced by increased insurance costs caused by the Korean War and other trouble spots. Regular scheduled airline services were also improving by this time.
1952 - Sold to the office of the Air Attache French Government in Washington
30 Dec 1952 - Received by Institute Geographique Nationale in Creil near Paris, France with 1475 airframe hours. Converted for aerial survey work.
18 Feb 1972 - Grounded at Creil after flying 6808 hrs and 40mins and cannibalised for spare parts to keep other B-17s flying.
20 Nov 1973 - Offered for sale without engines, instruments or radios for 30,000 Francs (£2,860)
May 1975 - Purchased by Euroworld Ltd together with an airworthy B-17 and sent to Duxford airfield.
January 1978 - Purchased by Imperial War Museum (IWM) and underwent major re-conversion and conservation to return the aircraft to its wartime configuration and painted to represent a B-17G Flying Fortress 42-31983 nicknamed "Mary Alice".
September 2012- After a 16-month conservation project by IWM which was supported by Mr John F Bookout on behalf of the 96th Bomb Group. The aircraft was repainted to carry the tail markings and number of a B-17G of the 96th Bomb Group.




Event Location Date
Manufactured Douglas Aircraft factory, Longbeach, CA May 1945
Delivered 28 May 1945
Assigned Syracuse, New York 31 May 1945
Based Oakland, California 17 February 1947
Based Missouri 14 October 1949
Based Indiana 20 July 1951
Based Washington DC 1952
Based Creil, France 30 December 1952
Based Duxford May 1975


Date Contributor Update
12 November 2019 10:35:24 Emily Changes to nicknames, markings and description

IWM collection: 2010.40.1. Detailed history complied from object files pertaining to this airframe's conservation and history held at IWM Duxford.

Removed biography complied by Dave Osborn from Fortlog due to significant gaps in the aircraft's history.

Information about the aircraft's history with Transocean Air Lines from Transocean Air Lines 1946-1960

Date Contributor Update
08 November 2019 11:56:14 Emily Changes to production block number

IWM's object history file for this aircraft. IWM Collection no 2010.40.1

Date Contributor Update
10 March 2016 13:48:12 Vince P Changes to manufacturer, nicknames and aircraft associations

Updated Aircraft Model and names, added connections

Date Contributor Update
06 October 2014 11:50:56 Carl Changes to nicknames and place associations

More information on this B-17 as a missionary transport aircraft can be found in Bill Taylor's 'The Ambassadors: The story of two converted warplanes, the men, the women and the missions' (Florida 1999)

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:41:59 AAM AAM ingest

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log