It was announced on April 16 that the Yankee Air Museum had opted to “proactively cease flight operations of the B-17G Flying Fortress Yankee Lady".
The move comes after recent inspections of other examples revealed issues with the type’s wing spar attachment fittings. Announcing its decision via email, it said: “As a result we expect a mandatory Airworthiness Directive to be issued by the FAA [Federal Aviation Authority] in the next few weeks regarding the matter.”
One of three current operators of the famed Boeing bomber, it is thought the type will be grounded, pending a possible mandatory FAA-required inspection of the wings. While not confirmed, it is thought the problem could relate to an issue found within the wing attachment structure of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s example, B-17G 44-85740 Aluminum Overcast (N5017N), which resulted in its grounding in April 2021.
In its statement, the Yankee Air Museum noted: “Out of an abundance of caution, we are temporarily ceasing our B-17 flight operations and awaiting direction from the FAA regarding necessary inspections and repairs that will be required. It is expected that the B-17 will not fly during the 2023 season.”
At the time of writing (mid-April), the FAA had yet to comment on the issue.