Kubota UK is helping to keep a piece of aviation history alive by supporting Sally B, the last remaining airworthy B-17 Flying Fortress bomber in Europe.
The iconic aircraft, the star of the 1990 blockbuster film Memphis Belle, is permanently based at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford and still regularly flies at air shows and commemorative events across the UK to honour the memory of those that lost their lives in the skies above Europe in World War II.
Elly Sallingboe of the B-17 Preservation – a registered charity dedicated to the aircraft’s survival, approached Kubota UK to support the Trust with the loan of a tractor that could tow the B-17 in and out of the hangar at Duxford. This was after Sally B’s previous tow vehicle had finally succumbed to the rigors of time after decades of service.
Due to the nature of towing an aircraft of this size, identifying the right tractor with the required power and traction was key. Kubota recommended its mid range M6060 tractor to meet and exceed expectations. The 63hp machine combines power with an economical performance to tackle the most demanding jobs with ease.
Elly Sallingboe commented: “The preservation of Sally B and keeping her in the air is absolutely crucial so we can continue to honour the lives of those lost in World War II, particularly the US airmen that came over to the UK to fight. It’s a massive part of British history.
“The aircraft is not part of the Imperial War Museum’s own collection, so we rely solely on charitable donations, sponsorship, sales of souvenirs and the support of over 6,500 Sally B Supporters Club members.
“In order to continue to survive, the support from businesses like Kubota is vital. Sally B is extremely expensive to operate and maintain, so any support we receive is really appreciated and I would like to thank Kubota for being so generous with the loan of this tractor.”
Dave Roberts, Managing Director of Kubota UK, said: “Sally B really is an important piece of history, so we are delighted we can support her. A loyal team of more than 25 volunteers give up countless hours to maintain and fly her every year, so that thousands of people at air shows and events have the opportunity to see this graceful but thunderous bomber take to the skies. We are pleased we can play our part in keeping Sally B’s legacy alive.”