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 Post subject: B17 Crew Weight
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:41 am 
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I noticed on the nose art picture of Liberty Belle I took last Sunday the crew weight of 1,200lbs. How strictly was this enforced as with a crew of 10 the average weight would be 120lbs for each crew member.

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 Post subject: Re: B17 Crew Weight
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:28 am 
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Great question because I have wondered about that as well. Seems the Lads were a bit more "svelt" in those days. It would not surprise me to see that average weight was around 120 lbs.

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 Post subject: Re: B17 Crew Weight
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:54 am 
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If you want to get some idea of what size these guys were, go to Ebay and search: WWII US Army uniforms. You're not gonna' find many uni's that are larger than 38 and most are the 34, 36, 38 SHORT variety. That generation was really small compared to today. I was surprised to see how small the Band of Brothers troops were when I met a few. When you see them in photos, you don't really get a good idea of their size because they're standing with other guys that are 5'6" to 5'8".
I always thought my father was a big guy. He was 6' and weighed about 150. I passed that when I was 15. :shock:

Mudge the oversized :roll: :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: B17 Crew Weight
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:04 am 
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Keep in mind, most of them were 18-24 yr old. Spent their growing up years in the deep depression. Not a lot of food and good nutrition, so add that to the mix and you do have smaller and lighter crewmen. That and if you were big and strong, they tended to say "You would work out well in the INFANTRY"! My Grandpa shot dove and rabbit out west of SanAntonio to put meat on the family table...not a lot of meat there!!! But it is meat!

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 Post subject: Re: B17 Crew Weight
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:19 am 
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When the 1200lbs weight stencil matter was raised on the AAF forums some years ago, James Peters, a former 15AF B-17 Engineer, had this to say:

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Crew Weight 1200lbs is a mistake.
It was arrived at by the FIRST Model B-17, when there were only 6 crewmen, 6 X 200 lbs (the 200 lbs was the official aircrew members weight for Weight and Balance Computations).
When the crew complement grew to 10, Boeing did not make a change to the stencil and it remained at 1200 lb, so every B-17 manufactured carried the Crew Weight 1200lbs marking.


All the best,
PB

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 Post subject: Re: B17 Crew Weight
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:21 am 
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Story I've always heard from several sources ( including a few vets ) is that the 1200 crew weight was for the FIRST model with a crew of six ...... 6 X 200lbs = 1200. 200lbs per crewmember including gear, heavy flight clothes, jackets, etc..... and Boeing just never updated the stencil.

Guys were smaller back in the day for sure, as noted about depression-era nutrition, but I also suspect why you have such a hard time finding vintage clothes/uniforms in " normal " sizes also has to do with the fact that lots of stuff in the "normal" range got reissued, worn as work clothes by returned vets, and just got worn out and junked. Therefore, whats left today is a sampling of sizes skewed a bit by the fact that the smaller sizes didn't get used up postwar, so thats whats left.

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 Post subject: Re: B17 Crew Weight
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:46 am 
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RAMC181 wrote:
When the 1200lbs weight stencil matter was raised on the AAF forums some years ago, James Peters, a former 15AF B-17 Engineer, had this to say:

Quote:
Crew Weight 1200lbs is a mistake.
It was arrived at by the FIRST Model B-17, when there were only 6 crewmen, 6 X 200 lbs (the 200 lbs was the official aircrew members weight for Weight and Balance Computations).
When the crew complement grew to 10, Boeing did not make a change to the stencil and it remained at 1200 lb, so every B-17 manufactured carried the Crew Weight 1200lbs marking.


All the best,
PB


Great info. I'd never heard that. Makes sense though. 120 lbs. per guy? Even in those days, not very realistic. He!!, those guys wore at least 20-25 lbs. of clothes.

Mudge the educable :drink3:

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 Post subject: Re: B17 Crew Weight
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:10 pm 
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Carries through to today. For weight and balance computations on airliners, most carriers still consider every passenger to weigh 170 lbs, and some reduce that to 165 in Winter-which raises the issue of how come that overweight passenger weighs more in a SPEEDO than when wearing a topcoat (it's NOT a pretty sight).

'If a man is huddled over a sheet of paper with a pencil and a calculator and he is cursing under his breath, he is either doing his taxes or weight and balance forms'

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 Post subject: Re: B17 Crew Weight
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:15 am 
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I've researched early aviation regulations and certification. Even back into the 1930's the CAA (precursor to today's FAA) considered a person to weigh 170lbs and a parachute to be 20lbs for individual crew weight of 190lbs. Of course I doubt today's average American weighs 170 - but few wear a parachute either!

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