Bomber Run

The Swoose, the oldest surviving B-17 Flying Fortress and the only B-17D model still in existence, is being transferred from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., to the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, for restoration and permanent display. The fuselage has already arrived and the transfer of the entire aircraft is expected to be complete in the coming weeks. The Swoose—originally named the Ole Betsy—flew combat missions against the Japanese from its base in the Philippines only hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. It served throughout the war as a bomber, commander’s shuttle, and high-speed transport, incurring battle damage in 1942 from Japanese fighters. Officials expect the restoration process to take a number of years, aided by lessons gleaned from the museum’s ongoing restoration of another famous B-17, the Memphis Belle. (Museum report by Sarah Parke)