Following restoration, the World War II Air Force B-17F bomber “Memphis Belle” will be on public display at the National Museum of the US Air Force, starting May 17, 2018.
The restoration is taking place at the museum, which is located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.
Memphis Belle is the nickname of a Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress that was used during the Second World War. The aircraft inspired the making of two motion pictures: a 1944 documentary film, Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress, and a 1990 Hollywood feature film, Memphis Belle, starring Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz, John Lithgow, ad Billy Zane.
It was one of the first United States Army Air Corps B-17 heavy bombers to complete 25 combat missions with her crew intact. The aircraft and crew then returned to the United States to sell war bonds.
Note from Storm: My late father, Robert Bruce Cunningham, was a bombardier in B-17s (as well as B-24s and B-29s) during WWII, so this project has some nostalgic value for me. He flew over 100 missions in Europe and the Pacific theaters, without once being wounded. He entered the Army Air Corps (later called the U.S. Air Force) as a private at the beginning of the war, and left at the end of the war a major, due primarily to heavy casualties that resulted in a long series of “battlefield promotions”. His commanding officer at one point was famed actor Jimmy Stewart.