Lacey Lady in her jig inside the hangar at McNary Field, Salem Municipal Airport in Salem, Oregon. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Lacey Lady in her jig inside the hangar at McNary Field, Salem Municipal Airport in Salem, Oregon. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

WarbirdsNews has been following the saga of B-17G Lacey Lady for some time now. We paid a visit to our friends at the B-17 Alliance Group in September to check on her status. As most of our readers will know, this is the organization based at McNary Field in Salem, Oregon which is working on restoring the famous B-17G Flying Fortress known as Lacey Lady. The B-17, which sat atop a gas station in Milwaukie, Oregon for some six decades, finally came in from the cold last year, and is now safely stored inside. The B-17 Alliance Group has quickly established a small, but comprehensive museum in a room adjacent to the hangar, and is now hard at work preparing for the restoration.

The rear entry door, oxygen bottles and various other items from Lacey Lady in the museum. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

The rear entry door, oxygen bottles and various other items from Lacey Lady in the museum. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Pilot's seat, rear entry door and various other items from Lacey Lady in the museum. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Pilot’s seat, rear entry door and various other items from Lacey Lady in the museum. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Pilot's seat from Lacey Lady in the museum. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Pilot’s seat from Lacey Lady in the museum. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

A life raft as used in a B-17 from Lacey Lady in the museum. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

A life raft as used in a B-17 from Lacey Lady in the museum. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

The fully restored ball turret which will go into Lacey Lady when she's ready to receive it. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

The fully restored ball turret which will go into Lacey Lady when she’s ready to receive it. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

The B-17 Alliance Group is coordinating their efforts with several other B-17 restoration projects, and have acquired a jig for the main fuselage in the process. They recently installed the fuselage in this jig, and now comes the hard graft of restoring the bomber. Wandering around the hangar, which is filled to bursting with B-17 parts and components, was a fascinating exercise. When you enter from the museum exhibition room, the first thing you see is the fully restored, forward nose section…

The fully restored forward nose section from Lacey Lady. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

The fully restored forward nose section from Lacey Lady. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

A closeup of the fully restored forward nose section from Lacey Lady. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

A closeup of the fully restored forward nose section from Lacey Lady. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

A view inside the fully restored forward nose section from Lacey Lady. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

A view inside the fully restored forward nose section from Lacey Lady. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

The cockpit section is already in its jig, and partially disassembled. This work occurred some years ago, but the task of restoration will soon become a priority again, now that the rest of the aircraft is securely in its new home.

The mostly disassembled cockpit section in its jig. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

The mostly disassembled cockpit section in its jig. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

As already noted, the restoration team recently fitted Lacey Lady’s main fuselage in a jig built up by the B-17 Alliance Group.

Looking down at the main fuselage in its jig. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Looking down at the fuselage sections in their  jigs. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Looking down at the main fuselage in its jig. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Looking down at the main fuselage in its jig. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

 

The main fuselage section in its jig. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

The main fuselage section in its jig. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

 

A closeup view of the port forward upper wing attachment hinge and the jig attachment point. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

A closeup view of the port forward upper wing attachment hinge and the jig attachment point. The part, despite it’s weathered appearance, looks to be in salvageable condition, but this will all depend on more thorough examination. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

A view into the bomb bay catwalk. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

A view into the bomb bay catwalk. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

A view inside the radio compartment. Graffiti dating back over the decades is clearly evident on the interior skin and bulkheads. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

A view inside the radio compartment. Graffiti dating back over the decades is clearly evident on the interior skin and bulkheads. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

The radio compartment floor. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

The radio compartment floor. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

In going through the aircraft, it was fascinating to see how some parts had survived in nearly pristine condition, while others had clearly taken a beating from the elements, or other unfortunate problems. The rear fuselage in particular, showed some signs of the difficulty of the wet Oregon climate, as well as the results damage caused by a truck colliding with the fuselage when it once stood on the pilons at the gas station.

Looking down the inside of the rear fuselage. A major corrosion hole in the skin is evident on the lower right. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Looking down the inside of the rear fuselage. A major corrosion hole in the skin is evident on the lower right. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

An exterior view of the rear fuselage showing the corrosion hole (on the lower left) and the damage from the truck collision (lower right). (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

An exterior view of the rear fuselage showing the corrosion hole (on the lower left) and the damage from the truck collision (lower right). (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

An interior view of the rear fuselage. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

An interior view of the rear fuselage. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Another interior view of the rear fuselage. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Another interior view of the rear fuselage. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Overall, on a surface inspection at least, the wings look to be in much better condition than the fuselage, which is excellent news as the wings… like nearly every restoration project… will be what consumes most of the rebuild effort.

A look inside the starboard outer wing panel, showing a nearly pristine fuel tank. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

A look inside the starboard outer wing panel, showing a nearly pristine fuel tank, and some excellent structural material as well. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

_C8A2524 - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - B-17 Alliance Group - Salem, OR - September 02, 2015 _C8A2696 - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - B-17 Alliance Group - Salem, OR - September 02, 2015 _C8A2684 - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - B-17 Alliance Group - Salem, OR - September 02, 2015 _C8A2680 - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - B-17 Alliance Group - Salem, OR - September 02, 2015 _C8A2688 - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - B-17 Alliance Group - Salem, OR - September 02, 2015 _C8A2728 - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - B-17 Alliance Group - Salem, OR - September 02, 2015 _C8A2732 - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - B-17 Alliance Group - Salem, OR - September 02, 2015 _C8A2736 - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - B-17 Alliance Group - Salem, OR - September 02, 2015 _C8A2752 - Richard Mallory Allnutt photo - B-17 Alliance Group - Salem, OR - September 02, 2015

An interesting view of part of the exhaust ducting. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

An interesting view of part of the exhaust ducting. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Lacey Lady's four Curtiss-Wright R-1820 engine units complete with their cowlings standing quietly in a corner of the hangar. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Lacey Lady’s four Curtiss-Wright R-1820 engine units complete with their cowlings standing quietly in a corner of the hangar. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

B-17 wheels and sundry components. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

B-17 wheels and sundry components. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Lacey Lady's rudder and other tail components. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Lacey Lady’s rudder and other tail components. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

One of the bomb bay doors. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

One of the bomb bay doors. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Empenage components. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

Empenage components. (photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt)

While it’s clear that this restoration represents a mammoth task involving many years of concerted effort, and certainly huge amounts of financial resources, it is also clear that the B-17 Alliance Group is capable of handling the task. They have moved forwards very quickly with the project. Just getting her down from her perch and indoors was a major accomplishment, but they’ve also established a viable museum and have a dedicated team ready for tackling this effort.

WarbirdsNews wishes to express our deep appreciation to Sean O’Brien for arranging our visit, and particularly to Bob Farmer for taking the time to show us around after a busy day at work. The B-17 Alliance Group has made remarkable progress in helping preserve this beautiful aircraft, and we wish them well in their endeavor to return her to flying condition. Please do consider donating to the project. To find out how you can contribute, please click HERE.

3 Comments

  1. Where is the museum and is there admission fee?

  2. Ron,

    I thought you should know that this article is being featured on our new website. The website is in its initial launching stages.

    I hadn’t seen the article until now. Our website designer found it and connected it to the site. It is well done and we really appreciate the effort to help. If I had known you were coming for a visit, I would have enjoyed meeting you first hand and sharing the experience. We’re grateful that it was set up for you and glad Bob Farmer gave you the tour. He has been very helpful to B-17 Alliance.

    Your photos are clear and concise and would be helpful in sharing our current progress. The wing section in particular. Our Crew has just about removed all accessory pieces from the first wing section. Your photo of the fuel tanks inside, etc. shares a remarkable difference as to how it looks now. I would like to make progress report photo charts utilizing your photos from the first stages.

    I am requesting permission to use your photos to further the cause of B-17 Alliance.

    Thank you for this great article and your support. It means a lot to our entire group.

    If you would like an update, please contact the B-17 Alliance Founder & CEO Jayson Scott. His cell phone is 971-219-8292

  3. When’s the next Fly-in? Missed the June event! WX was shitty!

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