The Pink Lady (aircraft)

For other uses, see Pink Lady (disambiguation).
The Pink Lady
Front view of the Pink Lady
Rear-right view of the B-17

The Pink Lady is the nickname of a B-17G Flying Fortress bomber. Until retirement early in 2010, it was the only flying survivor to have seen action in Europe during World War II.

Rolled out of the Lockheed-Vega production facility in Burbank, California in December, 1944, The Pink Lady was then only known as a B-17G-85-VE Fortress, serial number 44-8846. On March 1, 1945, 44-8846 was flown to RAF Polebrook, England, and assigned to the 511th Bomb Squadron, 351st Bomb Group. Since she entered active service so close to the end of the war, 44-8846 only flew six missions over Germany, the last one on April 20, 1945, when the 351st ended combat operations. She was transferred to the 365th Bomb Squadron, 305th Bomb Group, based at RAF Chelveston, England, when the rest of the 351st returned to the United States.

She was featured as the fictional B-17F aircraft Mother and Country in the 1990 film Memphis Belle, she was painted on one side to resemble the older B-17F. She is credited in the 2012 film Red Tails. The Pink Lady was based at Paris - Orly Airport, France, just to the south of Paris, until its hangar was listed for demolition. In October 2006, she was stored for winter 2006-2007 in a hangar in St Yan, (Saône et Loire), France. Afterwards, she was based at Melun Villaroche (LFPM), south-east of Paris, where some Dassault (Mirage, Mystère or Balzac) aircraft made their first flights in the '80s. She have made some meeting like at Melun in 2008 or Paris Air Show in 2009. Her last flight from Melun Villaroche (LFPM) (her last base before retirement) to Cerny-La Ferté Alais (LFFQ) (the airfield of Amicale Jean-Baptiste Salis) was on March 2010.[1] She is inside a new hangar since 29 October 2011,[2] and she will wait some years before flying again.[3]

Painting schemes and registration numbers

Below is a non-exhaustive chronological list of the Pink Lady's painting schemes and registration numbers from 1945–2006:

Entire Aircraft: Unpainted Aluminum

1945: s/n 48846 on tail

1945, March: white J in black Triangle 48846 M on tail (with red diagonal stripe), DS : M on fuselage, M on nose turret

1945, May: white G in black Triangle 48846 XK: M on fuselage

1954: Institut Geographique National logo on tail, F-BGSP on fuselage

1965: IGN, registered as ZS-DXM

1979: WFU

1985: 48846 on tail, F-AZDX on fuselage, "Lucky Lady" artwork added to nose for air-show tour

Entire Aircraft: Olive Drab upper surfaces, light gray lower surfaces

1989: Officially registered as F-AZDX, was painted for the movie Memphis Belle as:

1993: large text below pilot and co-pilot side windows:

B 17

1998: 22955 on tail, F-AZDX on fuselage, "Mother and country" artwork on nose

2002: Triangle-J 48846 M on tail (with red stripe as per 351st Bomb Group markings), M-DS on fuselage (nose turret removed)

The current paint job does not have "The Pink Lady" artwork on right nose, but is otherwise like its 2002 configuration.

This aircraft was present at "The Flying Legends" (Duxford, UK) air display on 12 & 13 July 2008. The "Mother and Country", and "The Pink Lady" artwork was present on the right side nose area.


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