Restored B-17 Memphis Belle Unveiled at Air Force Museum

The famous World War II bomber has been returned to its former glory after a painstaking restoration by United States Air Force Museum staff members.

B-17 Memphis Belle
After a meticulous restoration by museum curators, the B-17 Memphis Belle made its debut public appearance in the World War II Gallery of the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio, on May 17.USAF

After spending several years inside a hangar at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, undergoing an extensive restoration, the B-17 Memphis Belle is on display for the world to enjoy at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

The B-17F bomber was unveiled last Wednesday at a private event honoring family members of the Memphis Belle crew, 75 years after its last mission in World War II. The airplane and displays of artifacts, including wartime uniforms, flight suits, pilot wings and rare color archival footage, are now open to the public.

The Memphis Belle is among the most famous B-17’s of the war, returning to the United States after completing 25 combat flights over Nazi-occupied Europe on May 17, 1943, after which it embarked on a war bond publicity tour. It was also the subject of a 1944 documentary and a 1990 Hollywood movie.

The three-day celebratory event held May 17-19 included flyovers by a trio of B-17 Flying Fortresses, six P-51 Mustangs and three WWII-era trainer aircraft, all of which remained on static display at Wright-Patterson through the event.