View Full Version : B17 crop sprayer????

29th Nov 2004, 07:28
hi all.. seen a few references lately to a b17 crop spraying aircraft that may have existed. couldn't find any photos but found a few references to it. can anyone help?

29th Nov 2004, 10:44
Whilst in the States late 80's was told that early post WWII B17s were used for crop spraying against large infestations of particular insects over the Mid-west. Believe they even did it in a formation of a few aircraft in echelon to get good coverage, due inability to tight turn back onto the next spray line.

They also used them for fire fighting. Flew in one of the last ex-fire fighters still in it's FF livery. N17F I seem to recall was its reg. The only airworthy B17F at the time, now I believe grounded and in the Boeing museum. It did though make it over to the UK to take part in Memphis Belle as 'C-Cup'.

29th Nov 2004, 15:39
Quite possible that a B-17 was used as a bug sprayer. Several Constellations and DC-6s have been used as bug sprayers with spray nozzles mounted on the wing. Think Conair still have a DC-6 as a sprayer.

Lu Zuckerman
29th Nov 2004, 17:18
While attending Michigan State College I lived for a short time in the down town section of Lansing, Michigan a block from the State Capital. One morning I was jolted out of bed as a B-17 spraying for Gypsy moths flew about 100 feet over my apartment.

That evening the Lansing newspaper printed pictures of the B-17 as it flew below the top of the capital building and betweeen the capital building and the Olds Tower at about 150 feet AGL.

I was attached to various Coast Guard bases that flew B-17s (PB1-G) and I never heard a noise like that.

:E :E

29th Nov 2004, 20:54
TD&H N17W was your mount I believe. Still the only flyable B-17F: http://www.aerovintage.com/229782.htm

29th Nov 2004, 23:41
thanks guys... any pics of them in action?

GLS 62
30th Nov 2004, 01:58

Follow Paper Tiger's link and then the link at the bottom of that page. It is a list of known B17's. Usually a photo link also.

In the mid sixties, I was working a relief stint for TT in Jonesboro, Ark. There was a B17 on the ramp. I was told it was AOG waiting for parts. I was also told that it was spraying in the area, however I don't remember what for. One day I came to work and it was gone. Never saw it again.


30th Nov 2004, 02:57
B-17's were used in Arizona spraying cotten in the 1960's I'm told by the older locals here.
Operators switched to Constellations later on, several were based at KFFZ and KGYR, along with several PV-2 Harpoon sprayers.

In 1972, while driving across Texas, noticed a 'fleet' of sprayer Connies (749's I think) in a loose formation...again, spraying cotten.
4 aeroplanes.
Interesting sight.

Fris B. Fairing
30th Nov 2004, 04:03
Lu and PiperTiger are on the money.
There is a photo in Peter M. Bowers' book "Fortress in the Sky" (p.232) showing B-17 N17W of Central Aircraft spraying gypsy moths in Lansing, Michigan. The photo was taken looking down on the aeroplane from a neighbouring rooftop. The building in the background is probably the capital building described by Lu.


1st Dec 2004, 01:22
A company called Conifair used to operate both the DC-6 and the Constellation on spruce budworm spray over here back in the 1980's. They had 3 or 4 Connies, and 2 DC-6B's.
They lost a DC-6 back about 1986 or 1987, it hit the top of a ridge after a spray run. One of the Connies was sold to John Travolta and went on to become the MATS Connie and the rest went to the boneyard in Arizona, I believe. The remaining DC-6 they reconfigured to a passenger/freight combi for the caribou hunt from Schefferville in northern Quebec to Montreal. I don't remember what happened to that one.

henry crun
1st Dec 2004, 03:25
About 8 years or so ago there was an infestation of the white-spotted tussock moth in Auckland New Zealand.

A DC6 was used to spray the city area for that pest.
I think, but am not sure, that the aircraft was operated by a Canadian company.

1st Dec 2004, 14:58
Paper T and Fris B

Indeed it was N17W. Memorable couple of days with Bob Richardson and his crew.

Fris B, is there any chance of seeing that photo? Would go nicely with the hundreds I must have taken on those flights.

Cheers H

1st Dec 2004, 20:50
Wandering slightly, but a little bit of esoterica:


Yes, those are RR Darts hanging out there, an outrageous bit of adulteration.
N1340N crashed during a water drop August 18 1970.

Fris B. Fairing
1st Dec 2004, 22:05

Please check your PMs.


Am I allowed to post an image out of a book?


2nd Dec 2004, 09:58
The restored Connie [ a 749] in Holland is also an ex Conifair aeroplane, being a sister aircraft of the Mats Connie and for many years was stored at their facility near Tucson Arizona. With all these old aeroplanes you only have to use your nose to tell whether they were a sprayer or not

2nd Dec 2004, 16:06
Not sure about the Aviodome Connie but on the MATS Connie the spray bar attachment points are still visible as there the attachment bolts are still in place.

4th Dec 2004, 17:56
EAA's B-17 Aluminum Overcast used to be a cropsprayer.