The B-17 Charitable Trust
Registered Charity No. 1079007
Background

 

For 39 years, the UK’s last remaining airworthy B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft, Sally B, has been maintained and flown as a memorial to the 79,000 Allied airmen who lost their lives in Europe during the Second World War.

In 1998, disaster struck when a series of technical problems caused the aircraft to become grounded for more than a year. This meant little income for nearly two years while the repair work, which included the need for new engines, was completed. To make matters worse, the resources kept in reserve for just such emergencies were severely drained.

This major setback made it clear that a more secure financial footing was needed in order to safeguard the aircraft in the future. With this in mind, the B-17 Charitable Trust (Registered Charity no. 1079007) was established in January 2000 with the aim of raising funds to keep Sally B in this country for all time.

 

Why keep Sally B going?

 

Operating the UK’s last remaining airworthy Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft is an important educational and heritage project, for this aircraft represents an important chapter in our history when formations of B-17 Flying Fortresses of the United States Eighth Army Air Force flew daylight missions out of British bases. Tragically, many thousands of young airmen were never to return, and the aircraft is kept flying as a tribute to the sacrifices made by these men and their allies in the Royal Air Force.

The importance of this aircraft as a unique and tangible part of our national heritage has been officially recognised through appearances at high profile events such as the 1994 official D-Day commemorations, the VE Day flypast over the City of London in 1995 and most recently, in 2005, when she flew down The Mall and over Buckingham Palace during the VE Day 60th Anniversary commemorations.

 

Our mission and how we can achieve it

 

Our mission is to keep the aircraft going for the education and enjoyment of today's and future generations. With each passing year, fewer veterans of the Second World War remain amongst us, but we believe that we must keep their legacy alive. We aim to do this by enabling people - young and old - to see the aircraft fly at events around the country, and by offering on-the-ground guided tours of its interior with our team of volunteer experts. We believe this is an exciting and memorable way to teach our visitors a valuable lesson about important events in our national history that might otherwise be forgotten, but we need more support if we are to continue to do so.

 

The challenge: finding the money

 

The aircraft is permanently based at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, where visitors can see the aircraft on display every day throughout the year (apart from the few occasions when it is flying at other venues or the Museum is closed.) But Sally B is NOT part of the Museum's own collection, nor is she supported financially by the Museum. Indeed, the aircraft receives no official help from any official source whatsoever.

 

The lifeblood of Sally B

 

In the absence of any kind of official support, operating such a large and expensive aircraft has always been a constant struggle and a real labour of love. Somehow, against all the odds, the aircraft has kept going. But how?

The explanation for this incredible achievement lies in the loyal support of its working team of volunteers, and the devotion of its 8,000 Supporters Club members all over the world who back our efforts year after year, determined to do what they can to help keep this wonderful aircraft operational.

The volunteers and the members are the lifeblood of Sally B, and without them the aircraft would not have made it through one year, let alone 38 years. Their hard work is backed up by charitable donations, sponsorship and souvenir sales.

 

How we use the money we raise

 

All funds raised by the B-17 Charitable Trust go directly towards keeping Sally B airworthy and in this country for the education and enjoyment of future generations.

Make a Donation

 

Aims of the B-17 Charitable Trust

 

The Charity aims to:

      • raise funds to support the UK’s last remaining airworthy example of a B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft known as Sally B for the education and enjoyment of children and adults of today, and of future generations.
      • keep alive the history of these aircraft and pay tribute to their young United States Army Air Force crews and their allies in the Royal Air Force, who paid such a heavy price for our freedom.
      • preserve, operate and exhibit this living piece of British national heritage.
      • secure the long-term future of this unique piece of history in the UK.

How you can Help

 


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