Written by Tom Knighton
In 1990, a movie called “Memphis Belle” hit the big screen throughout the nation. Starring Mathew Modine and Eric Stoltz, the film was based on the true story of the crew of a B-17, one of the first complete crew to finish their tour of duty – which consisted of 25 combat missions – in World War II. However, one of the stars of the film is currently at the Thomasville Regional Airport.
The plane used in the movie, and actual B-17, is now used in conjunction with the Liberty Foundation. On Monday, October 21, the plane was available to the media to take a trip. I jumped at the opportunity to fly in a plane with as storied a history as the B-17.
When people talk about the planes of World War II, the B-17 will show up in the conversation. While the original “Memphis Belle” was one of the more famous of planes from the war, other B-17’s took place in such historic moments as the famous Doolittle Raid. Another B-17, the “Enola Gay” dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
The best part of this trip is that you can get a chance for a ride yourself. At a cost of $450 per seat, it may seem high. However, volunteers point out that it costs $4500 per hour to take a B-17 for a spin. Still, the experience is something unlike anything you can ever experience.
Most people fly in modern commercial airliners, smaller commuter jets, or even modern prop airplanes. This writer has flown in all three, and nothing compares to the four-engine B-17 Flying Fortress. Despite the noise – and this plane is definitely noisy – it was a smooth flight.
For more information, visit http://libertyfoundation.org or call (918)340-0243 to schedule your flight on the Memphis Belle.