Looking for an airworthy B-17? “Fuddy Duddy” is up for sale.
The yellow-tailed flying fortress, which belongs to the Wings of Eagles Discovery Center in Elmira, N.Y., is one of only a dozen airworthy B-17s left in the world. Asking price: $3.5 million.
Mike Hall, director of the Discovery Center, notes the decision to put the warbird on the market was not an easy one, but was necessary to meet the changing educational focus of the museum.
“Today’s youth are not quite as excited about World War II prop planes as previous generations were,” he said. “These kids are more interested in things like the Mars Rover, robotics and rockets.”
To that end the museum plans to pursue more space-related educational offerings. Hall pointed out the museum is in the hometown of Space Shuttle commander Col. Eileen Collins. “She’s getting more involved with the Center,” he said.
“We are also acquiring the assets of the Schweizer Soaring School, which is local, and we are emphasizing our capability to market ourselves in the southern tip of New York State. To operate a B-17 with the price of insurance and avgas, you need an organization like EAA that has national exposure.”
Courtesy Aircraft Sales of Rockford, Ill., is handling the sale. The company has decades of experience in the warbird arena.
“Most of it has been fighters and pursuit aircraft because of their sheer numbers, although we’ve sold a fair number of B-25s, B-26s and a few B-24s,” says Mark Clark, president. “Ideally, the B-17 will be sold to someone who will keep it flying. We have had discussions with several interested parties, but there is no deal in place. The people we have been in contact with have the potential to be the next owner and operator of the airplane.”