Boeing B-17G-95-DL/c.n. 32376-DL/44-83735/(F-BDRS)
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44-83735, was delivered from the production line of the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California to the United States Army Air Force at Syracuse Army Air Force Base in New York State just four weeks after the war in Europe ended. 44-83735 was flown back to California and with all military hardware removed, was converted into a VIP aircraft with an office, sleeping area and seven-seater lounge with passenger windows. In February 1947, 44-83735 was registered as NL68269 and named ‘San Miguel and was used from 1948 to 1949 by the President of Transocean Air Line’s to fly him from his home in San Francisco to Manila, in the Philippines. In October 1949, ‘San Miguel’ was up for sale and was bought the Assemblies of God Inc., a United States church organisation that flew missionary and mercy flights around the world.
Having had all the luxury fittings stripped out and more seats added, ‘San Miguel’ was renamed as ‘Ambassador 2’ to replace ‘Ambassador 1’ a Curtis C-46 Commando that the church had been using.In January 1950, ‘Ambassador 2’ flew to Mexico City for the start of its missionary work. Soon after, insurance costs and landing fees had increased enough to make the aircraft expensive to operate and fly and was back on the market again. It was bought by Leeward Aviation of Fort Wayne, Indiana in November 1951 and re-registered as N68629. In August 1952 it was sold to the French Government with it arriving in France in December 1952. Registered as F-BDRS, it joined the rest ofthe B-17 fleet being operated by the French National Geographic Institute on aerial survey work. F-BDRS was retired from service in 1972 and was slowly stripped of spares to keep the rest of the fleet flying. It was bough in 1975, along with another B-17 aircraft by Euroworld Ltd and moved to the UK and continued to supply spare parts to keep G-EBDF/’Sally-B’ flying. In 1978, the Imperial War Museum at Duxford purchased the remains of F-BDRS and eventually restored her back to a 1945 war time condition for static display in the American Air Museum which was opened officially by The Queen on the 1st August 1997. The camouflage and markings are currently that of B-17, 231983/‘Mary Alice’/IY-G that served with the 401st Bombardment Group (Heavy), USAAF, based at Deenethorpe, Northants between 1943 and 1945.
*Page 3 Update: 20Oct12*