TRB Lightweight Structures is delighted to announce the successful manufacture of replacement balsa wood and aluminium floor panels as part of the B-17 Charitable Trust’s refurbishment of Sally B, Europe’s last remaining airworthy B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft.
TRB has led the way in the design and manufacture of lightweight panels and structures for over sixty years, including the production of numerous specialised sandwich panels for the aerospace industry. As part of the ongoing restoration and upkeep of the Sally B, the aircraft’s radio room required replacement floor panels to allow it to meet relevant aerospace regulations and continue to fly. The trust therefore approached TRB – which had manufactured the previous flooring panels in 1987 – to provide like-for-like replacements. The company was able to deliver high quality replacements that replicated the original sandwich panel design of aluminium skins over a balsa wood core, providing both the light weight and stiffness required for this unique aircraft.
Chris Cooper, Project Engineer at TRB Lightweight Structures, commented: “This was an exciting partnership for TRB. Together, we have ensured the continued flight of the Sally B, based on the same panel construction method that we used in 1987, demonstrating our ability to offer customers tailored solutions to the problems they face.”
Steve Carter, Deputy Chief Engineer at the B-17 Charitable Trust, added: “The B-17 is an iconic aircraft, and the Sally B has spent 47 years as a flying memorial to the US airmen who died during the Second World War. Its preservation is a striking dedication to fallen airmen, and replacing the flooring in a way that kept the Sally B airworthy was of critical importance. We valued partnering with TRB for expertise of its engineers, who clearly understood our needs and offered a functional and neat solution.”
Images courtesy of Steve Carter of B-17 Preservation