Shown is the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress WW II Bomber, when she was at the Memphis Mud Island River Park.  Based in England, from November 1942 to May 1943 the Memphis Belle made 25 successful bombing missions mostly over France, Germany and Belgium.  Less known is that Hell's Angels was actually the first B-17 to first complete 25 missions and continue on to 48, but because of the name and some crew fatalities, the Memphis Belle was chosen to return to the states after 25 missions and to be in the public eye.  The Memphis Belle and her crew returned home to the United States and did a War Bonds tour to about 32 cities.  Sadly, in 1945 she ended up in an aircraft retirement boneyard in Altus, Oklahoma, but luckily the City of Memphis found out and bought her for $350. She made her last flight in July 1946 from Oklahoma back home to Memphis.  This story is more fully told at various sites on the internet.  The Vargas type semi-famous nose artwork was inspired by Margaret Polk the Memphis girl friend of pilot Lt. Robert Morgan.  Around 1950 the Belle was displayed outside on a pedestal stand at the National Guard Armory located at the corner of the Memphis Fairgrounds property.  In February 1983 the plane was moved and displayed for a couple of years at the 91st Bomb Group Restaurant on Democrat Road.  After many years of deterioration from the elements, theft and abuse, a restoration program was started by the Memphis Belle Memorial Association, Inc.  In May 1987 when their restoration was complete, a dedication celebration was held for her new home at the Mud Island River Park.  Many planes from this era participated in this event from the West Memphis, AR Airport, including seven B-17s who flew over in-formation in her honor.  The pictures below from the airport event are from my 35mm film camera.  She remained at the Mud Island River Park, under a canopy pavilion until 2003.  In order to better protect and preserve one of the most famous aircrafts in our country, the US Air Force has reclaimed it's rights to the plane and moved her to the Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, OH in October 2005 for a complete restoration.  She will probably be displayed at the Dayton National Museum of the US Air ForceŽ when the restoration is complete.        - - - Movie / Documentary links below - - -



Memphis Belle Dedication Event  May 1987 - via the West Memphis Airport























Restoring the Memphis Belle

 Click Here for Video 

National Museum of the US Air ForceŽ Production  ( 8 minutes )

Memphis Belle Restoration ( update )

 Click Here for Video 

National Museum of the US Air ForceŽ Production

The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress

Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hm1_D5crgPk    Watch
Documentary (actual footage) 25th mission from England ( 44 minutes )

Bell XP-59A Airacomet  America's first Jet Flight  October 1942
Part  1  &  2      
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1Z0LEGTXhs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKB580S9buU&feature=endscreen&NR=1

Groovey Movie (1944), fun Jitterbug instructional

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-