"Mary Alice" Emerges From The Shadows
The very delicate operation to remove "Mary Alice" from the American Air Museum into Hanger 5 - Conservation in Action was under taken by a team of engineers from the IWM today, Thursday 19th May 2011.
The weeks preceding todays operation has seen the B-17 stripped down, engines, wings, the ball turret and tail were removed to leave the fuselage as a moveable object on a specially designed "undercarriage".
With the front of the American Air Museum (AAM) not being easily removable the only option was to take the aircraft out through the middle one of the three fire exits.
The long slow and delicate operation took longer than expected with various minor obstacles needing to be overcome. One of those involved removing the wheel of the Avenger that is suspended from the AAM roof.
The aircraft is in place in Hanger 5 where it will undergo extensive conservation which is expected to take up to 16 months. It was stressed that the aircraft is not being restored but conserved which will include some remedial and anti corrosion work along with a full repaint, however at this time the details of the possibly new markings where not known.
The history of this aircraft is quite varied having been built at the end of WW2 in May 1945, this aircraft did not see action in WW2. She was bought to the UK in 1975 and used extensively for spares recovery to aid B-17 "Sally-B" to remain flying and has been at Duxford ever since.
The aircraft currently wears the markings of B-17G 42-31983 flown by Lieutenant Dan Knight of the 615th Bomb Squadron, 401st Bombardment Group based at Deenethorpe in Northamptonshire, 1944
Thanks for the time and help received from Esther Blaine, Public Relations Manager at IWM Duxford in making this article possible.