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28ZComeback

Question about postwar clandestine USAF B-17’s

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spacer.pngAttached is a photo of a spy plane B-17.  It is a period photo. Can anyone provide more background info on the bare metal B-17 depicted halfway down this article by Dave Tarrant?  Specifically did it fly on clandestine missions in bare metal?  Or was it about to be painted gloss black? I think it’s ready for a paint job. Almost all “bare metal” B-17’s are over coated in a laqcuor which protects the finish. I cannot detect it here. Further, all markings have been scrubbed. Thank you for any insights or observations.

https://www.quora.com/The-US-produced-massive-amounts-of-B-17-bombers-during-the-second-world-war-yet-only-a-few-dozen-are-left-intact-let-alone-in-working-condition-What-happened-to-all-of-them 

Edited by 28ZComeback

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Some more clandestine B-17s about half way down

 

https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2019/09/24/b-17-clandestine-special-service/

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Not sure those were technically USAF.  Most likely to have been CIA operated, even if some of them had USAF markings.  The CIA got around in those days.

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Flypast, February 2009, has an article by Scott Thompson on some covert B-17s. Pics include one or two all-black A/C in USAF markings, and the somewhat modified, ( Fulton Skyhook and tail parachute exit), aircraft operated in civilian markings by Atlantic General Enterprises, (President, one General Milton W Arnold Ret'd!) and Intermountain Aviation. AGE is generally believed to have operated on behalf of the CIA. A few pics of the latter A/C also appear on pp. 236, 237 of Peter Bower's 'Fortress in the Sky', Sentry books, 1976. Civil Air Transport and Western Enterprises also operated black B-17s for the CIA. 

 

Incidentally, the navy blue B-17s fitted with surveillance radar, and operated by the USN during and after the Korean War could also be considered as clandestine. They operated alongside the Navy's P4M Mercator A/C.

 

If you can't get a copy of the FP article PM me and I will scan it for you. Don't want to put it up here and infringe copyright.

 

Peter M

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Incidentally a good example of these CIA aircraft is B-17G 44-85531. It was converted to an SB-17G rescue machine for use in the Far East with 2nd ARS at Kadena and then returned to the Middletown Air Materiel Area at Olmsted AFB in October 1951, where it was converted to a 'TB-17G' (most likely as a cover for whatever it was proposed for). Conversion complete in January 1952 it returned to the Far East and was transferred to 'Top Secret' with mission code CM (special mission aircraft) on 11 February 1953. It disappears from the radar at that point. 

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The 34th. Squadron ROCAF/CIA use of the B-17 over the PRC is covered in Chris Pocock and Clarence Fu's The Black Bats - CIA Flights Over China From Taiwan 1951 - 1969 published by Schiffer which is in English and includes some B-17 illustrations as does Clarence Fu's own Secret History Of ROCAF Special Operations - The Story Of The 34th. Squadron which is completely in Chinese throughout.   

 

Read the first about ten years ago which led to the second and inspired a magazine conversion article of the 1/72 Hasegawa P-3 into the more lumpy and bumpy AIM-9 Sidewinder armed but short-lived and rarely used CT/SPIN variant.

Edited by Des

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In CAT history page 50 there appears an unmarked CIA B-17 in Pusan, Korea, 1952. I am bad with colors but it appears to be overall bare metal. Can someone with better vision confirm?  Sorry for the blurred photo. 
 

 

https://www.utdallas.edu/library/specialcollections/hac/cataam/Leeker/history/Japan.pdf

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