01/31/2009. One of 2,250 B-17Gs produced by Vega Aircraft Corp. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lockheed), B-17G-70-VE, USAAF s/n 44-8543, was finished as a pathfinder equipped with BTO (Bombing Through Overcast) radar on January 6, 1944. After operational service it became a TB-17G at Patterson Field, Ohio with the Air Technical Services Command, and was used in the development of equipment and procedures for all weather flying.
Modified into a ETB-17G on November 9, 1952, it was leased for five years to the Federal Telecommunications Corporation based at Westchester Airport, New York as a flying electronic test bed modified with large wing-tip sonar antennas and other electronic test equipment. It spent its last days on the military records at Teterboro Airport, New Jersey and was struck off charge in 1959, and subsequently sold as surplus to American Compressed Steel Corporation.
Fitted with cargo doors and registered as N3701G it was sold to Albany Building Company of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on February 6, 1961. Sold May 15, 1962 to John Gregory, also of Fort Lauderdale, it was resold to Dothan Aviation of Dothan, Alabama on March 7, 1963. Fitted with tanks and spray bars it flew under contract to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for thirteen years in the control of fire ants in Florida and Georgia. After three years of abandonment it was sold to Dr. William. D. Hospers of Fort Worth, Texas on October 4, 1979.
Restored to airworthiness on March 20, 1980, the aircraft is on display in the colours of the 486th Bomb Group with the Vintage Flying Museum, at Meacham International, Fort Worth, Texas.