Fort Collins B-17
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  • Altimeter
    Our Type C-12 Altimeter, capable of 50,000 ft.

    This is an original B-17 F altimeter, Type C-12. It was removed from the B-17F "El Conquistador I" in 1943, after a crash landing in England following an amazing return journey. Produced by Kollsman's Kollsman Instrument Division in 1943, under the U.S. patent numbers 18306, 19079, 20948, 1930899, 2034909, 2140704, 2154273, "foreign patents" and under order number AC-20848, in Elmhurst, New York.

    ID plate showing order number and patents

    The altimeter is marked as AC 42-29874, which is the serial number of "El Conquistador." Also interesting to note, is that the yellow colored paint on the needles and marks, is actually glow-in-the-dark and UV sensitive paint. It still glows and responds to UV light 70+ years later.

    Closeup of front, showing serial number and type
    Closeup of front, glowing under UV light

    Piloted by Jose A. Garcia, the B-17 was hit by flak during the bombing run and lost engine 2. It slowly fell out of the formation, and was left behind. German fighters quickly began to attack, but the crew managed to repel the enemy fighters. After two hours of fighting, the aircraft had finally made it back to England. Engine 2, 3, and 4 had all been knocked out, as well as electrical, pneumatic, and oxygen systems. They crash landed at Leiston, with no injuries due to the landing. "El Conquistador" had shot down 7 German fighters on the return trip, and only lost one person, the tail gunner, Ed Henninger. According to the article from which I found this information, very few parts of "El Conquistador" were salvaged, due damage, however the Altimeter happened to be one of them. I attempted to find Jose Garcia, the pilot, but I could not find him or any of the crew. If you have any information, please contact us.

    El Conquistador I, AN 42-29874
    "El Conquistador I" 1943. American Air Museum's documentation

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