In Pictures: Work begins on restoration of Imperial War Museum's Flying Fortress

| 03 May 2011
a photo of a man working on a large aeroplane propellor
The first propeller is removed from the B.17© Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum Duxford’s Conservation Department has begun the long and painstaking process of conserving one of its most iconic aircraft.

The large-scale project sees a team from the museum conserve the B-17 Flying Fortress Mary Alice, which is currently on display in the American Air Museum.

a photo from above of a man moving a large propellor with the help of a hoist
© Imperial War Museum
Visitors can see the conservation team, who have already removed the propellers and engine from the aircraft, begin the process of dismantling the juggernaut.

Once dismantled, The Mary Alice will be taken out of the fire exit from the American Air Museum and transported to Hangar 5: Conservation in Action, where the conservation work will take place.
a photo of two men using a hoist to remove the front engine cowling from a large aeroplane
© Imperial War Museum
The work will take a maximum of 16 months, from initial dismantling of the aircraft to putting it back on display in the American Air Museum. 

A four-engine heavy bomber, the B-17 provided the mainstay of the bomber capability of the US Airforce during World War Two and was most famously used during the strategic daylight bombing campaign over Germany.

a photo of an engine cowling being hoisted across a hangar
© Imperial War Museum
As befitted its name, it was heavily armoured and became well known for its ability to both defend itself and take heavy damage – ranging from flak and armour piercing rounds to direct collisions – and still make it back to base. As a result it has become one of the most mythologized aircraft of the war. 

Hangar 5 at Imperial War Museum Duxford will be open to the public during the refurbishment, enabling visitors to see the conservation work in progress.
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