News

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New Tow vehicle for Sally B thanks to Kubota

31 March 2017

For decades, Sally B’s tow vehicle has faithfully towed the B-17 in and out of the hangar at Duxford, not to mention from so many A's to B's across the airfield; last year it finally succumbed to the rigors of time, so the search was on for a solution to this problem.  Elly Sallingboe approached me as the company I work for, Kubota; manufacture a range of machines including tractors and asked if they would be willing to help us out. 

I approached the managing director of Kubota Dave Roberts and asked whether there was any possibility that he would consider loaning Sally B a tractor. Dave immediately said he was sure that something could be done and tasked me with identifying a suitable size tractor. The Lancaster 'Just Jane' at East Kirkby is towed  by one of the smaller tractors that Kubota make but the requirements at Duxford for Sally B are very different as we often have to tow her on grass and therefore need a machine with suitable power and traction specifications. I went back to Dave with what I thought would be a suitable model; he kindly agreed and a plan was put into action.

On Friday, 31st March Sally B's new tug, a 60hp four-wheel drive Kubota tractor was delivered to Duxford. There to receive it with me was Chief Engineer Peter Brown, Captain and Trustee Peter Kuypers. Rob Fox from Kubota and Tim Ibbetts the local dealer from St Neotts then gave us full instructions on how to operate the tractor, so now we are all set to go and tow!  

Geoff Smith
Sally B Engineering Team


“We are hugely grateful to Managing Director Dave Roberts of Kubota and to our own team member Geoff Smith for their much-needed generous support” Elly Sallingboe, B-17 Operator and Chairman of Trustees

Kubota Tractor

Rob Fox and Geoff Smith hand over the new Kubota tractor to Peter Brown at IWM Duxford

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An outstanding display season and beyond.........

12 January 2017

Sally B is now tucked-up safely in Hangar T2 at Duxford, where she will remain in a heated environment until warm weather returns in Spring.  As you read this, our indispensable Chief Engineer, Peter Brown, and his team of volunteers are well into work for the annual winter maintenance.

The 2016 display season for Sally B came to an end at Duxford’s Battle of Britain show on the on the 11th September after a successful summer despite the overwhelming new CAA legislation which made displaying the B-17 more difficult and, at some venues, even prevented our appearing.  We also missed a few venues because of weather and unserviceability, but considering what a difficult year it has been, with countless hurdles created in the aftermath of the tragic Shoreham accident, it is amazing that Sally B made it through her 41st display season at all. It was hard work, but in the end the 2016 display season emerged as another outstanding summer season for our aircraft. 

In December, we asked for help with replacing essential instruments on Sally B andtwo new sponsors came to our rescue, Adams Aviation by sponsoring two new Directional Gyro’s and Tatenhill Aviation for an Electrical Horizon. My heartfelt thanks go out to them and to all those of you who helped and keep helping Sally B fly: crew, team, members, friends and sponsors.  This support inspires me to carry on in the face of so many obstacles.

What Brexit and the recent world changes will mean for the future of Sally B is a question no one can answer, at least not as I write this.  All we can do is hope that the horizon becomes bright and clear and will allow our B-17 to thrive. 

In closing, I can do no better than to re-state my aim for Sally B: “to keep this B-17 airworthy and in the UK as long as humanly possible, as a Flying Memorial to the many young men of the Mighty Eighth who gave their lives for our freedom”.  This is, and always has been, my aim.  We have reached 41 years, so now let’s make it 42.  And with the help of all our friends, I’m sure we can!

 

Elly Sallingboe
B-17 Operator and Chairman of Trustees

Flying over Bridgwater Bay July 2016, credit Aviation Photocrew Belgium

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Sally B starts her 2016 season

12 May 2016

I am delighted to tell you that we test flew Sally B yesterday and trained all but one of our 5 pilots – all went well, Sally B behaved herself and her engines purred beautifully, so all in all despite the weather a good and successful flight.

She is now ready for her 41st display season.

 

Elly Sallingboe
B-17 Operator & Team leader

First 2016 Take Off, credit David Whitworth

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A brief spring news update

01 May 2016

Spring has arrived and with it another flying season for our B-17.  

It has been a busy winter in Hangar T2N where Sally B’s extensive maintenance is still ongoing under the superb leadership of Chief Engineer Peter Brown assisted by his trusty team of volunteers.  This work is now completed and Sally B is back in her summer enclosure left of the control tower at Duxford in readiness for her 41st display season.

Following an extensive review of airshow safety in the aftermath of last year’s truly awful Shoreham accident, the CAA have now published their new scheme of charges, new safety measures and new restrictions.  These heavy charges and restrictions, will affect all air shows, display aircraft and pilots. This means less shows and therefore less revenue for our aircraft, whilst most of our annual cost increases daily. But, despite these many changes and uncertain times ahead we remain upbeat that we will find a way through as we always have in the past.

A list of venues for 2016 can be found here.

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Stop Press - Media attack on Sally B

31 August 2015

In response to sensationalist reporting in the press and media of Sally B at the Clacton Air show, Elly Sallingboe operator of the B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B said:

'Our B-17 Sally B has a smoke system fitted which emits a plume of smoke during the last run of every display we do as a tribute to the thousands allied airmen who died over Europe during the Second World War and as a tribute to all who support this beloved aircraft. We have performed this tribute at every venue and show for the past 20 years and it is frequently accompanied by a planned silence or stirring music.

'We have operated Sally B for 40 years as a flying memorial and for the enjoyment and education of spectators here in the UK and in Europe. The aircraft is operated, flown and maintained, mainly by professional volunteers and as a registered charity is supported solely by the goodwill of the public; donations and by the support of the 6,500 members of the Sally B Supporters club, whose sole aim is to insure this flying icon remains flying as a tribute to the to the 79,000 allied airmen who lost their lives during WWII.

Every year, this flying memorial is seen and appreciated by hundreds of thousands all over the UK and Europe.

'Our display in no way reflects or refers to the tragic events at Shoreham earlier this month. The thoughts of everyone associated with Sally B continues to be with the families of those caught up in this most unfortunate tragedy.'

 

Elly Sallingboe
B-17 Operator & Chairman of Trustees

 

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Sally B under cover for the winter after an excellent 2014 season

09 October 2014

Our B-17 went under cover at IWM Duxford on Wednesday 8th October after an extremely satisfying and successful display season - her 39th! 

Hangar T2 North is now the venue for Sally B’s a busy winter’s maintenance by Chief Engineer Peter Brown and his loyal team of volunteers.  Peters projected work programme is the most extensive for many years and involves a huge amount of extra work.

Derek Smith (left) here at Goodwood Revival 2011

Because of this and because of the ever tighter health and safety rules, there will be no access this winter for members of the Sally B Supporters Club to the B-17’s maintenance area, and therefore no visit inside the aircraft till the winters work is completed.  Members are, however, more than welcome to use their free entry to IWM Duxford, to come and say hello to Sally B from the gangway over the winter months. 

Once the maintenance work is completed and Sally B is back in her enclosure on the flightline, members can once again visit on any Sunday, (unless she is flying).  On each Sunday over the summer months, a member of the team will be at Duxford to show club members inside the aircraft between 11am and 3pm.  

A summary on the 2014 display season and all the latest news on this iconic historic aircraft will be in the member’s magazine, Sally B News, out in November.  

If you are not a member, why not join us today and keep up with the happenings in and around Sally B, her crew, her team and her members (Join the supporters club).  To entice you to join, here is the current Sally B News and the latest Bulletin . AND, by joining you will help keep this last remaining B-17 flying in the UK to reach her 4th decade, for 2015 will mark an incredible 40 years since our aircraft arrived in the UK.

We must not forget that Sally B is a living piece of our national heritage and must be preserved for the enjoyment and education of today’s and future generations.  And we must raise more funds if we are to keep our beloved B-17 flying here, in the UK, where she belongs.”

Elly Sallingboe
B-17 Operator & Chairman of Trustees

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Derek Smith

A tribute to Sally B’s greatest supporter

by B-17 Operator and Team Leader Elly Sallingboe

4th March 2014

The close knit Sally B family were deeply saddened by news of the untimely death of Trustee and Sales Team Leader Derek Smith, who passed away on the evening of the 1st of March following a long illness.

Derek SmithDerek had been involved with Sally B for almost as long as she has been in the UK. It all began at Great Leigh’s, Chelmsford in 1984 when he first saw the aircraft fly. He joined the Sally B Supporters Club there and then and immediately began helping the late Betty Roberts and her husband David running what was then a small support stall. From then on, Derek’s involvement rapidly increased - from dedicated member to heading the sales team. In 2000 he was invited to become a Trustee of the B-17 Charitable Trust in appreciation of his absolute dedication to Sally B and all she stands for.

With inspiration, vision and tenacity Derek kept the sales team together for almost three decades. No one has a better team than Sally B and that was very much thanks to Derek’s superb leadership. His zeal for keeping Sally B flying took him away from home most weekends but he was fortunate to have a strong and loving family who supported his passion.

His knowledge of the history of aviation in the Second World War, particularly the various Bomb Groups of the US 8th Army Air Force, was vast. In 2007 Derek, with the help of Cliff Bishop, wrote the book “Pictorial Tribute to the Men and Aircraft of the 447th Bombardment Group (H) 1943 – 1945”. A second book followed in 2012 with co-author Malcolm Osborn “A Photo History of the 486th Bombardment Group (Heavy)”.

Derek was always held in great esteem by fellow Sally B volunteers as a much loved and dedicated team leader. He adored his team and through sickness and health he was always there for all of us, and gave his all to keeping Sally B flying. Our aircraft could not have had a better ambassador, nor could it have been better represented. Derek was an inspiration and a huge part of Sally B.

Derek Smith (left) here at Goodwood Revival 2011

Those of you who knew Derek will understand just how dreadfully he will be missed and we will cherish his memory – always!

Our hearts go out to Derek’s amazing wife June, daughters Carole and Teresa and grandchildren Carly, Genna, Sam, Lauren and Connor whose loss is by far the greatest.

We raise our heads, scan the sky and salute you Derek

Derek Smith’s funeral was on Monday 17th March 2014

 

 

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