History of the B-17 Madras Maiden
"B-17G 44-8543 was built by Lockheed-Vega and accepted by the USAAF in Burbank on October 17, 1944. The B-17 was assigned to the Flight Test Branch at Wright Field and modified to be a "Pathfinder" aircraft and equipped with the H2X "Mickey" radar system in place of the ball turret. From 1944-1959 The aircraft spent its entire military career as a research and development aircraft. From the B-17's that were converted to become "Pathfinder" aircraft, N3701G is the only one left in existence.
Military History Timeline:
Oct-44 delivered to the USAAF
Nov-44 to Wright Field and Modified to 'Pathfinder" radar aircraft.
Sep-45 to Clinton Army Air Field as an all-weather research aircraft.
Nov-46 Aircraft assigned to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a Honeywell Corp research project.
Jun-48 All weather flight center, Clinton Field
Mar-49 the Fortress was converted to an ETB-B17G and began another long term test program
Jun-51 to Wright Air Development Center, OH
Nov-52 to the Air Material Command, test program involving the FTC, Westchester, NY.
Aug-56 Aircraft Converted to JTB-B17G continuing to serve in a research role.
Mar-57 to Teterboro airport NJ
Mar-59 to 3040th Aircraft Storage Squadron (Air Materiel Command), Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
May-59 dropped from inventory as surplus
44-8543 was purchased through sealed bid by the American Compressed Steel Corp. of Cincinnati, OH on August 18, 1959 for the sum of $5,026.00 and become N3701G on the U.S. Civil register. In 1960 she was transferred to Aero- Associates and had a cargo door added to the right waist of the aircraft. On February 6, 1961 the aircraft was sold to Albany Building Corp of Fort Lauderdale FL. The aircraft was used as a cargo transport, hauling fresh produce between southern Florida and the Caribbean. On March 17, 1963 N3701G was sold again to Dothan Aviation in Dothan Alabama and converted to a Fire Ant Sprayer under contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Sold again on October 4, 1979 to Dr William Hospers of Fort Worth, TX. Mr. Hospers and his team of volunteers spent years slowly restoring the aircraft back to her combat configuration. On October 7, 2010, N3701G was sold to Training Services, Inc of Virginia Beach. The B-17 underwent a minor restoration and began to fly in airshows.
In 2013, N3701G was sold to the Erickson Collection, an aviation museum in Madras Oregon. Restored to her combat configuration and painted in the colors of the 381st Bomb Group, and sporting the Madras Maiden nose-art, N3701G flies today to honor our veterans, educate current and future generations as to the high price of freedom and to preserve our aviation heritage."