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63 votes

What is a "runaway supercharger"?

The B-17 had General Electric exhaust-gas-driven turbochargers (or more correctly, turbo-superchargers) that had pilot selectable boost levels. A selector dial in the cockpit controlled the operation ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
49 votes
Accepted

Can the dome gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress shoot the plane's tail off?

There's a profile cam in the turret track ring that operates a mechanism that interrupts the guns when the barrels are pointed at parts of the aircraft. Waist gunners were the only ones who had to ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
40 votes
Accepted

What is a "runaway supercharger"?

The B-17 uses the term "Turbo Supercharger" which refers to just a Turbocharger (As John K points out in the comments, the former is actually the technically correct term). The B-17 had an ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
11 votes

Did B-17 gunners beat on the wings of other planes in their formation?

That'd be a roughly 1 meter stick you've got to beat that other aircraft with, at most. Not a long stick at all. By the time the other aircraft got that close a collision would be unavoidable. Not ...
jwenting's user avatar
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6 votes

What are dimensions of the B-17 propellers?

According to the maintenance manuals from here about halfway down the page (part 1 page 3) the B-17 was equipped with: PROPELLER. Type: Three-bladed, hydromatic, WEE50-473 or 505, ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
5 votes

What is the origin of the "Pickle" switch for release of ordnance?

The accuracy of the Norden bombsight was often exaggerated, but it was never claimed it could put a bomb into a pickle jar. The exaggerated claim from the Norden Company was that a bombardier using it ...
Juan Jimenez's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

What did B-17 Pilots do?

In combat, heavily damaged, they Aviatated, navigated, communicated. Back on the ground, they are, rested, recovered, planned for the next flight. If lucky, maybe some recreation. If not so lucky, ...
CrossRoads's user avatar
  • 8,795
1 vote

Why did only Boeing choose to use 4-engines on the B-17?

Martin actually did have a competing design, the twin boom XB-16 that went along with the Boeing XB-15 submitted for another USAAF requirement to travel 5000 miles. Douglas, after their enormously ...
Robert DiGiovanni's user avatar

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