The Memphis Belle Moves to the National Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH.

Photo courtesy the WPAFB web site.

06/10/08 UPDATE: Repairs to the sheet metal are now underway. The radial engines are still being restored and built up, and restoration of the wheels, brake, belly ball-turret, and left inboard wing is in progress. Items that are missing are being fabricated with the help of Boeing blueprints. Miscellaneous panels and pieces are also being stripped for restoration.

On October 12, 2005, the Memphis Belle arrived at the Wright-Patterson AFB Area B restoration hanger. She is now sitting there awaiting the beginning of her final restoration.

The Air Force had required that the Memphis Belle Memorial Association have an independent feasibility study done. That study was done in March, 2005 and concluded that there was little chance for necessary monies to be raised by the citizens of Memphis necessary to build a permanent museum and restore the aircraft. In August, the board of the MBMA relinquished control of the aircraft to the USAF, and in October she was moved.

From the WPAFB web site:

"The B-17F "Memphis Belle," the Eighth Air Force's first heavy bomber to complete 25 successful bombing missions over Europe and return to the United States, has been moved to National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, under the terms of an agreement between the Memphis Belle Memorial Association and the U.S. Air Force.

"The aircraft, which is currently in the Museum's Restoration hangar in Area B of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is being prepared to undergo several years of restoration work.

"Once restoration on the aircraft begins, the public will be invited to view it as part of the Museum's 'Behind the Scenes' tours. Please check the website again for future announcements and updates about these tours."

In a statement released by Jim Harris, membership director for the Memphis Belle Memorial Association, Mr. Harris made reference to the restoration folks at Dayton:

"They are saying from five to ten years for the restoration. They are going to totally restore her, and they will do a good job. They have some talented folks there.

"It would behoove us all to keep track and put pressure on Dayton not to delay. Also, the MBMA board voted to stay in 'business' and keep their web site going."

For more information please see the following links:

WPAFB Museum web site
Linda Morgan, wife the Belle's pilot, Bob Morgan, Memphis Belle website


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