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B−17 Flying Fortress  (Memphis Belle)

Supermodel Melanie standing by the Memphis Belle B-17 Flying Fortress - Airplanes and Rockets

Melanie next to the Memphis Belle

Memphis Belle movie DVD - RF CafeOn July 21, 2013, Melanie and I toured the inside of the "Memphis Belle" that was used in filming the movie of the same name. North Coast Air, based at Erie International Airport, hosted the event. This particular B−17 Flying Fortress is not the original Memphis Belle, but is a version that was produced in 1945, near the end of World War II. It is being leased by the Liberty Foundation for country-wide public tours while the ill-fated Liberty Belle is being restored. Rides were being offered for around $500 per seat, so we had to pass on that. I'd gladly pay the price if we could afford it, because the costs of operating such an aircraft is enormous. Fortunately, wealthy sponsors pay for the majority of the expenses. The Smithsonian of course has a fully restored B−17, but it sits in a museum and never takes to the air. The B−17's four Pratt & Whitney R-1690 Hornet radial engines make an unmistakable sound in the air, as do other multi-engine World War II era planes. I still run outside the house an search the skies when I hear such a sweet noise.

My son and I built a Revell B−17 Flying Fortress plastic model back in the 1990s. It was painted with a can of Testors flat olive drab.

Sure, there are thousands of pictures of the Memphis Belle on the Internet, but none of them have Melanie in them, so that makes these special. Enjoy.

Memphis Belle at Erie International Airport - Airplanes and Rockets

Memphis Belle at Erie International Airport

Memphis Belle tail gunner position - Airplanes and Rockets

Memphis Belle tail gunner position.

Supermodel Melanie with Memphis Belle at Erie Airport - Airplanes and Rockets

Melanie with Memphis Belle at Erie Airport.

Our daughter's name is Sally (Supermodel Melanie poses) - Airplanes and Rockets

Our daughter's name is Sally, so we thought she would appreciate this photo.

Memphis Belle starboard side nose art - Airplanes and Rockets

Memphis Belle starboard side nose art.

Philip, Sally & Melanie with a B-17 - Airplanes and Rockets

Frederick Airport, Frederick, Maryland (circa 1990).

Video Tour of the Memphis Belle B-17 Flying Fortress.

Memphis Bell Bombardier Station - Airplanes and Rockets

Memphis Bell Bombardier Station.

Memphis Belle at North Coast Air - Airplanes and Rockets

Memphis Belle at North Coast Air, Erie International Airport.

Memphis Belle port side nose art - Airplanes and Rockets

Memphis Belle port side nose art.

Revell plastic B-17 Flying Fortress model nose by Philp & Kirt Blattenberger

This Revell plastic model of the B-17 Flying Fortress was a joint effort between my son, Philip, and me. It was part of my program to teach him model building and finishing skills. The project turned out pretty well if I do say so myself. - Colorado Springs, CO  (circa 1998)



Posted October 11, 2023
(updated from original post on 7/21/2013)

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About Airplanes & Rockets 

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and RocketsKirt Blattenberger

Carpe Diem! (Seize the Day!)

Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD ...

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