The Museum of Flight moved three iconic airplanes in its collection from their long-time restoration home at Boeing’s Plant 2 on Saturday, Sept. 18. The planes — a Lockheed Constellation Super G, a Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress, and the Boeing B-29 Superfortress — have been undergoing restoration at Plant 2, but are being relocated as Boeing has made plans to demolish the historic airplane fabrication plant.
The 1954 Lockheed Constellation Super G, which arrived at The Museum of Flight’s restoration facility at Plant 2 in September 2009, will be relocated to the museum’s Airpark on the east side of East Marginal Way. There it will be on display, alongside the first jet Air Force One, the British Airways Concorde, and the prototype 747.
The B-17F – nicknamed the “Boeing Bee” – originally rolled out of Plant 2 on Feb. 13, 1943, served in the European Theater in World War II, and spent time as a trainer, war memorial, aerial sprayer, fire fighter, tanker and movie star, having appeared in the motion picture “Memphis Belle.” It became part of the museum’s collection in August 1990 and, now fully restored, is currently the only flyable B-17F in the world, according to museum officials.
The 1945 B-29, known as T-Square 54, fought in the Pacific during World War II, flying 37 bombing missions with the 875th Bomb Squadron, 498th Bomb Group. It was later converted to an aerial refueling tanker for the Korean Conflict and was loaned to the museum by the National Museum of the United States Air Force in May 1993.
The move of these airplanes was particularly notable as it was the last time a B-17 left Plant 2, where 6,981 of the war-changing planes were assembled during World War II. During the war, the plant employed as many as 30,000 people to turn out as many as 362 bombers a month.
The building was deemed to be so vital to the World War II manufacturing effort that to foil possible enemy bombing raids the roof was camouflaged with life-size fake trees, houses and streets.
For more information: MuseumOfFlight.org.