B-17 Flying Fortress
by Mars-Bound_Hokie
uploaded 2024-05-05
5 downloads /
4
points
SPH
stock+DLC aircraft
#USA #Boeing #bomber #WWII #b17

Historic photograph from the later years of the Second Imperial Wars. Here we see one of many B-17s on its way to destroy a Heinkelian industrial complex.

  • The B-17 was the Allies’ most mass-produced heavy bomber, making it available for every major theater for the war. Its most prominent role came in the later years, leveling Heinkel’s industrial plants while Allied forces pushed further into its borders.
  • Many were sold to Nye Island in the early years since they were closer to Heinkelian territory and could more reliably launch bombing missions from there. However, Heinkel’s anti-aircraft defenses and interceptor forces proved too problematic for the B-17s to even get close to their targets - let alone return. So, Nye Island used them (and their own heavy bombers) to attack Heinkelian shipyards and other naval targets until the Allies finally breached their borders.
  • Occasionally, commandoes would fly as deep into enemy territory as possible inside B-17s and bail out after getting shot down. To evade Heinkel’s military as well as its Intelligence Bureau (even temporarily), they would leave corpses of other young men dressed in uniforms inside the bomber to fake their deaths. Unfortunately, not only did a small percentage of those commandoes return from their missions, but their missions had a low success rate. It wouldn’t be long before Allied Command forbade such missions from happening again.

A B-17 was also used in one of the most notorious Allied war crime ever reported; the Volksburg Massacre.

  • Long story short, Elsa Kerman snuck into an Allied base, stole a B-17 bomber, and firebombed Volksburg. Her motive: revenge for her crush getting wounded by Heinkelian flak.
  • To read the full story, check out my post about this bomber in the KSP forums.

The B-17 Flying Fortress on display in the SPH.

  • I began with modifying the 2.5-m Cockpit to have a longer, wider nose. To mimic the gunner/bombardier window, I added another small fairing and made them orange since they were the closest to in-game window colors.
  • Although the main control module is a Mk1-3 Command Pod encased inside the cockpit piece (along with a RC-001S Remote Guidance Unit, which was added later), I added a Mk2 Lander Can in rover mode on the top for decoration. During the test cruise, after I tried getting a cockpit shot (even with MJ autopilot on), the plane lost control and started nosediving. To correct this, I set the control point to Forward. The plane shouldn’t take the lander can as the master control module, but it shouldn’t be a big deal if it does.
  • Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a 2.5-m cargo bay long enough to serve as a bomb bay. The stock service bay wouldn’t suffice since both ends opened up. So, I took the elevator bay from my C-54 Skymaster replica, removed the elevator itself, copied the bay itself, and put it in the middle of the fuselage.
  • On swjr-swis‘s advice, I raised the wings’ angle of incidence by 5 degrees. This helped me out a lot when it came to the plane’s range.
  • For this large plane’s engines, I kept the motor size and output at 100% BUT I set the main throttle torque limit to 1%.
  • The cargo bay has a lot of parachutes, repair kits, and lights. More than enough to evacuate the plane’s crew in a worst-case scenario and, if possible, get the plane fixed while setting up camp. Not that such an event happened often.

This plane has (mock) turrets set up at:

  • the nose
  • the top, right behind the Mk2 Lander Can hatch
  • the belly, right behind the wings
  • both sides of the fuselage, near the back
  • the tip of the tail

Picture of the B-17F known as the Memphis Belle on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, OH.

  • This particular plane, which was on loan from the Air Force to the city of Memphis, TN, was relocated to the Museum in 2005. Years of restoration later, it was put on public display in May 2018.
  • Photograph taken by me 4/9/2022.

Description

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, used by the U.S. Army Air Corps, is arguably the most iconic heavy bomber of the Second World War. Along with the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, the B-17 formed the backbone of America’s strategic bombing force. It flew in every combat zone during WWII, but its most famous role was crippling Germany’s war industry in Europe. With its four turbo-supercharged engines and flexible, powered turrets, it could carry several tons of bombs about 30,000 feet high while holding its own against enemy fighters. By the time production ended in 1945, a total of more than 12,700 B-17s had been built.
As of February 2024, only six B-17s remain airworthy; five in the U.S., and one in the U.K. The B-17 known as the Memphis Belle, currently on static display in the National Museum of the United States Air Force, was the first heavy bomber to return to the U.S. after flying 25 missions over Europe.

A stock aircraft called B-17 Flying Fortress. Built with 168 of the finest parts, its root part is RCSTank1-2.

Built in the SPH in KSP version 1.12.5.

Real-life Counterpart Performance Stats

(B-17F Flying Fortress)

Maximum Speed: 325 mph (145 m/s)
Service Ceiling: 37,500 feet (11.4 km)
Range: 2,800 miles (4,506 km)

  • Combat Radius: 600+ miles (965.6+ km)

Source: Air Force Museum Website

Photo of the Baikerbanur Bombshell, which had recently been restored to airworthiness, flying over some mountains.

Details

  • Type: SPH
  • Class: aircraft
  • Part Count: 168
  • Pure Stock
  • KSP: 1.12.5

OPERATION INSTRUCTIONS

PAY ATTENTION

Takeoff Instructions

  1. Make sure your cargo doors are shut.
  2. Engage the brakes and turn on SAS.
  3. Full throttle.
  4. Disengage brakes.
  5. Press and hold H (translate forward). It increases the propeller blade deploy angle - hence your speed. Stop at 25 degrees for now.
  6. Retract gear when airborne.
  7. Turn to your desired heading after gaining some altitude, then begin ascent.

Follow the Ascent Instructions before starting cruise.

Ascent Instructions

  1. Begin ascent at 66% throttle starting at 15 m/s vertical speed and a blade angle of 30 degrees. Increase blade angle at 5-degree increments until reaching 40 degrees. Vertical speed should stay between 10 and 20 m/s.

  2. Stop at 6.5 km altitude and cruise at 30% throttle. You should start at 145 m/s velocity after settling.

  3. Once your velocity reaches approximately 163 m/s, increase throttle to 66% again and climb to 7 km altitude at a vertical speed of 15 m/s.

  4. After reaching 7 km altitude, reduce throttle to 30% and begin the next step of your cruise.

  5. When you get close to a velocity of 160 m/s, repeat Step 3 until you reach 7.5 km altitude. Then resume your cruise; you should expect to start at 140 m/s when settled.

Check the RECOMMENDED CRUISE stats for what you should expect to end up with after completing this procedure.

  • And trust me, you do not want to skip the 7 km altitude stop.

Propeller Controls

  • H: Translate forward (increase blade angle)
  • N: Translate backward (decrease blade angle)

Cockpit shot from the lander can during the test cruise.

  • At first, just one second viewing out the window and the MJ aircraft autopilot would mess up and cause the plane to point downward and lose altitude. It took a while to get it back to cruise, which cost quite a bit of fuel - and, by extension, kilometers of range.
  • I then turned off the autopilot for a few seconds to get this shot. I still lost a bit of altitude, albeit not nearly as much as I would have if it was on.
  • After that cruise, I set the control point of the lander can to Forward.

Another beautiful color shot of the B-17 flying.

The B-17 had barely made it over Kerbin’s north pole when had 30 fuel units left. That was when the pilot shut off the engines and began its slow final descent.

  • It managed to glide almost 40 kilometers before touching down smoothly.
  • This is quite a beautiful picture, actually.

RECOMMENDED CRUISE

Altitude: 7.5 km (~24.6k ft; Class Alpha airspace)
Velocity: 140 m/s (~313 mph)

  • Will increase gradually over time.

Blade Deployment Angle: 40 degrees
Recommended Throttle:

  • Ascent to altitude: 2/3 (66%)
  • Cruise: 30%

EXPECTED RANGE

1,000 km before immediate landing necessary.

A historic photograph of a B-17 stuck in the snow.

  • This one was damaged in combat from a Heinkelian fighter’s bullets puncturing the fuel tanks. While that fighter was soon forced to break off the attack, the bomber however was unable to return to base after its bombing run. So, the pilot performed a smooth landing over Marxan territory and the crew set up camp during a snowstorm.
  • They were eventually found by Marxan soldiers and, after a longer than usual waiting period, repatriated to Allied forces.

Landing Advice

After you land the plane, (unless you’re all done with it) press and hold N to return the blade angles back to 0 before taking off again.

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