Historic bomber arrives in Fort Wayne for weekend flights

B-17 bomber
The Memphis Belle is a World War II era B-17 bomber.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  The Memphis Belle, a World War II era B-17 “Flying Fortress” bomber will be offering flights to the public out of Fort Wayne International Airport on August 2 and 3.

Photo Gallery | Memphis Belle in Fort Wayne 

The Liberty Foundation operates the B-17. The aircraft has been painted to match the actual Memphis Belle, which was the first heavy bomber to complete 25 missions during World War II after going into service in November of 1943.  The organization takes the plane around the country as a means to honor veterans, educate people about the “high price of freedom” and preserve aviation heritage.

“It’s a lot of fun. But we want to make sure we remember the 10 men who were on the airplane because that is really what it is all about, making sure those guys are not forgotten,” said Keith Youngblood, volunteer crew member with B-17 bomber.

The aircraft turns heads wherever it flies. 13-year-old Nathan Lechleidner rushed to the airport Monday after seeing the bomber flying overhead.

“It’s amazing to see one of these old things, giant, awesome, they’re really cool,” Lechleidner said.

Crew members gave members of the media a ride on the B-17 bomber Monday. The turret guns, metal walls, and cramped quarters mark a history that’s hard to fathom in 2014.

The plane's combat record is shown on the side of the aircraft.
The plane’s combat record is shown on the side of the aircraft.

Flights cost $450 per person and lasts about a half hour.  Once in flight, passengers are free to move around the aircraft.  For more information about scheduling a flight, check out the Memphis Belle web site.

The flights will be every hour on the hour from 10 am to 2 pm. Ground tours will be available on both days from 2:30 pm to sunset free of charge.

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