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Boeing C-108 Flying Fortress Aircraft Information

Boeing C-108 Flying Fortress

C-108 Flying Fortress

Manufacturer: Boeing / Lockheed-Vega / Wright-Patterson AFB
First flight: 1943
Introduced: 1943
Retired: 1945
Primary user: United States Army Air Force
Number built: 4
Developed from: B-17 Flying Fortress

"C-108" redirects here. For the freshwater catfish, see Corydoras xinguensis

C-108 Flying Fortress was the designation of four United States B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers which were converted to transport aircraft during World War II.

Design and development


The first C-108 built (designated XC-108) was a B-17E (41-2593) converted to a V.I.P. transport for General Douglas MacArthur in 1943. With the exception of the nose and tail turrets, all armament was removed, as was all armor. The interior of the plane was made into a flying office for MacArthur, with extra windows, cooking facilities, and living space. To facilitate entry and exit, a drop-down door with steps was installed in the rear fuselage.


A similar conversion as in XC-108 was made on a B-17F-40-VE (42-6036).


Between August 1943 and March 1944, another B-17E (41-2595) was converted to a cargo aircraft designated XC-108A. Hoping to convert obsolete bombers into cargo aircraft, the United States Army Air Forces initiated a remanufacturing station at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The plane was stripped of armament, armor, and other military equipment. Crew locations were shifted, and the nose was modified to provide space for cargo and/or personnel. The cockpit was accessed via the crawlway under it or through the hinged solid nose cone that had replaced the original glazed bombardier station. To increase cargo space, several bulkheads were removed and the bomb bay doors were sealed closed. This allowed much of the fuselage volume to be used to carry cargo or personnel.


A B-17F 42-30190 was converted (XC-108B) to tanker service. As in the XC-108A, it was devoid of armor and weapons, and the fuselage was modified to make space for its cargo. The fuselage was filled with fuel tanks.

Operational history


Was personal VIP transport aircraft of the General Douglas MacArthur in 1943.


Based in India, the XC-108A was used to fly material and personnel over the Himalayas to the B-29 base in Chengdu, China. Due to chronic engine difficulties, it proved a difficult cargo plane. In October 1944, it was returned to the United States. By the end of the war, it was disassembled and left in a junkyard in Maine. In 1985, a vintage airplane buff acquired the pieces, and they were transported to an airport in Illinois. The owner hopes to restore it to B-17E configuration.


XC-108B was to be used in the same line of work as the XC-108A: carrying material (in this case, fuel) over the Himalayas to the base in Chengdu.


B-17E converted to VIP transport standard for General Douglas MacArthur.

B-17F converted to VIP transport standard for General Douglas MacArthur.

B-17E converted to cargo or troop transport standard.

B-17F converted for service as a tanker.

Two other cargo transports and VIP transports were made from the B-17.

Troop transport version capable of carrying up to 64 troops, 25 built.

VIP transport version for high level staff officers, 8 built.


United States

United States Army Air Force

Specifications (XC-108)

General characteristics

Crew: five (pilot, copilot, navigator, tail gunner, nose gunner)
Capacity: General and staff
Length: 74 ft 4 in (22.7 m)
Wingspan: 103 ft 10 in (31.6 m)
Height: 19 ft 1 in (5.8 m)
Wing area: 1,527 ft (141.9 m)
Powerplant: 4x Wright R-1820-65 turbo-supercharged radials, 1,200 hp (900 kW) each


Maximum speed: 300 mph (480 km/h)


4 x .50 caliber M2 Browning machine guns in nose and tail turret


XC-108A, 41-2595, "Desert Rat", survived in a New England junkyard and is being restored in 2011 in Henry County, Illinois, by a private individual to B-17E configuration.

B-17 Flying Fortress variants

Related development

B-17 Flying Fortress
XB-38 Flying Fortress
XB-40 Flying Fortress

Comparable aircraft

C-87 Liberator Express

Jablonski, Edward. Flying Fortress. Doubleday, 1965. (ISBN 0-385-03855-0)
Wagner, Ray. American Combat Planes. Doubleday, 1982. (ISBN 0-930083-17-2)
Encyclopedia of American Aircraft
USAF Museum

Boeing C-108 Flying Fortress Pictures

Living Warbirds: The best warbirds DVD series.

Source: WikiPedia

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