B-17 Vs. B-24

The majority of three thousand officers and enlisted men in Eight Air Force heavy bomber crews tallied between 28 May and 5 June 1944 said their aircraft - be they B-17s or B-24s - were the best for the job. When separated into B-17 and B-24 crews, 92 percent of the surveyed B-17 crews said they had the best type of machine, compared with 76 percent of the polled B-24 crews who said they had the best type of aircraft. As the survey summary noted: "The proportion who are 'sold' on their own plane is... greater among B-17 crew members."

B-17 und B-24

The survey presented other conclusions about Eight Air Force crews and their two types of heavy bombers: "In both B-17 and B-24 crew, men who are convinced their type of ship is best are more likely than other men to express satisfaction with their jobs. In B-24 crews, the bombardiers, navigators and co-pilots appear somewhat less likely than other crew members to feel they have the best of airplane. In B-17 crews, men in the different crew positions do not differ appreciably in the appraisal they give their ship "The study emphasized that "B-17 and B-24 crews do not differ in their belief in the importance of the job they are doing", and that the two types of crews did not differ "in their expressed willingness to take on another series of missions nor in the proportions who say they would sign up for combat flying if they were starting all over again."

Interestingly, in both B-17s and B-24s, co-pilots were the least likely to answer "yes" to the question, "Do you think you have the best type of airplane for the particular job which you have to do?" The 1944 survey drew no inference from this statistic, although a latter-day assessment might conclude that of all crew positions, only co-pilots have a built-in job dissatisfaction linked with their ambitions to become pilots. In the survey, the total sample of 3,000 crew men might yield only 100 to 200 in any one crew position for each type of bomber and the surveyors cautioned that this small sample "must be regarded as suggestive, rather than conclusive evidence of a real difference between crew positions existing in the total Eight air Force heavy bomber crews from which this cross-section sample was drawn." By crew position, those who said: "yes" that theirs was the best type of airplane for the particular job they had to do produced the following numbers for the survey.

Co-Pilots Engineer
B-17 Crews 88% B-17 Crews 93%
B-24 Crews 58% B-24 Crews 91%
Navigators Pilots, Radio Operators and Gunners
B-17 Crews 93% B-17 Crews 79%
B-24 Crews 63% B-24 Crews 92%
Bombardiers Men in all crew positions combined
B-17 Crew 93% B-17 Crew 92%
B-24 Crew 65% B-24 Crew 76%