Historic “Memphis Belle” B-17 Moved Into US Air Force Museum Hangar

posted in: Museums, Warbirds | 0

B-17 Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" and "Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby" - National Museum of the United States Air Force

On March 14th, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force marked completion of the B-17F “Memphis Belle” restoration project. In view of invited media and 300 Air Force Museum Foundation members, the “Memphis Belle” was towed from the Museum’s restoration hangar to the WWII Gallery where it replaced “Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby”, a B-17G which had been on display there since 1988. The B-17G was removed from the hangar and placed into storage, where it awaits transfer to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum at a later date.

B-17 Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" - National Museum of the United States Air Force

The “Memphis Belle” bears a paint scheme representative of the aircraft’s appearance on May 17, 1943, when the aircraft’s crew completed their 25th combat mission, thereby completing their tours of duty. They became the first Air Force bomber crew from Europe to return to the United States after reaching that milestone. This achievement earned the aircraft and crew national recognition, a war bond tour, and enduring historical significance.

B-17 Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" - National Museum of the United States Air ForceB-17 Flying Fortress "Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby" - National Museum of the United States Air Force

The Museum’s “Memphis Belle” exhibit officially opens on May 17th, the 75th anniversary of the aircraft’s historic combat mission. Until then, the aircraft remains obscured from view by a large partition. Plans for the exhibit debut include a static display of B-17 bombers, a gathering of WWII reenactors, and a big band concert, among other events.

– Article and photos by Ryan Grantonic

B-17 Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" - National Museum of the United States Air ForceB-17 Flying Fortress "Memphis Belle" - National Museum of the United States Air Force

C-97 Stratofreighter “Angel Of Deliverance” Returns To Flight – Watch The Amazing Takeoff!

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C-97 Stratofreighter "Angel of Deliverance" First Flight

The “Angel of Deliverance”, a Boeing C-97G Stratofreighter, returned to flight this week after 15 years of restoration in New York. The aircraft is operated by the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation, which also owns and flies the C-54 “Spirit of Freedom”.

C-97 Stratofreighter "Angel of Deliverance" First FlightC-97 Stratofreighter "Angel of Deliverance" First Flight

The C-97 is a large piston-powered cargo aircraft based on the B-29 Superfortress bomber. It first flew in 1944, and was retired from US service in 1978. Some of the airframes, including this one, were used as aerial refueling tankers. “Angel” is now the only flying C-97 anywhere in the world, though one of the related Super Guppy cargo transports also remains in active service with NASA.

She roared off of Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn on Tuesday, stopped in New Jersey for fuel, and continued to her new temporary home in Reading, PA. Jacob Gentile caught up with the aircraft during the fuel stop, and sent us this incredible video of the takeoff as well as some photos on the ground. The aircraft will stay in Reading through next spring, but the BAHF is actively seeking sufficient hangar space for both of their airlifters. Please consider supporting their cause as they keep these pieces of history active and flying!

Thank you to Jacob Gentile for providing the video and photos!

C-97 Stratofreighter "Angel of Deliverance" First Flight

EAA AirVenture 2017 To Feature The Only Two B-29s Still Flying – “Doc” and “FIFI” Confirmed For Oshkosh!

posted in: Airshows, Warbirds | 3

Boeing B-29 Superfortress "FIFI" and Fireworks - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

This year’s EAA AirVenture is set to feature not one but TWO flying B-29 Superfortresses. That’s right, both “FIFI” and “Doc”, the only flying B-29s in the world, are planning to attend!

Earlier today, Doc’s Friends, the group behind the aircraft, announced four stops on the first half of Doc’s planned 2017 tour. Doc recently completed ‘phase one’ of the initial flight testing program following a lengthy restoration in Kansas, which allows it to be flown to airshows. These events will be important fundraising opportunities for the group, and an exciting opportunity for fans to see a ‘new’ and extremely rare aircraft. Be sure to check our forums for the other dates and updates at the rest of the schedule is announced!

Boeing B-29 Superfortress "Doc"Boeing B-29 Superfortress "FIFI"

The Commemorative Air Force had previously released a partial schedule for their B-29, FIFI. FIFI is authorized to give rides, and tours the country each year to raise money for the organization.

The two aircraft will cross paths in Oshkosh, WI this July 24-30, during the massive EAA AirVenture airshow. We look forward to bringing you the sights and sounds of this amazing meetup between the only airworthy B-29s!

Update: Eagle-eyed fans have pointed out that these aircraft will actually cross paths earlier in the year, as both are scheduled to attend the airshow at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana in May! This summer will be very exciting for B-29 fans!

“Doc” photo courtesy of Doc’s Friends

First Flight Of B-29 Superfortress “Doc” Announced

posted in: Warbirds | 2
B-29 Superfortress "Doc" First Flight
Photo credit: Doc’s Friends

The eagerly anticipated first flight of the B-29 Superfortress “Doc” has been scheduled for Sunday, July 17th. The flight will mark a culmination of 16 years of restoration by volunteers in Wichita. The flight is expected to take place in the early morning, weather allowing, and viewing information will be announced for anyone in the area who wants to watch. The group leading the restoration recently obtained permission from the Department of Defense to use the military runway at McConnell AFB for the flight.

The planned timing does leave open the possibility for Doc to attend this year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh show at the end of the month. Hours of flight testing will need to be completed first, though. The world’s only other flyable B-29, “Fifi”, is already confirmed for AirVenture.

World’s Oldest Jet Returns To Flight

posted in: Warbirds | 25

F-86A Sabre - World's Oldest Jet - Flies Again

The world’s oldest flyable jet, and one of the last remaining F-86A Sabres, S/N 48-178, took to the skies once again today in Rockford, IL. This is a major milestone in the recent acquisition of the Sabre by Heritage Aero Inc, which is based in Rockford, on behalf of a US collector. Paul Wood was at the controls for the two flights made by the Sabre, which was accompanied by a T-33 chase plane. The first flight was originally expected to occur before this year’s EAA AirVenture earlier in July, but was delayed by mechanical issues.

Sabre 48-178 has been through numerous private owners and restorations throughout it’s life, originating in Everett, WA in 1970 to Golden Apple Operations in the UK (1992)and finally to Heritage Aero late last year. These flights are a promising sign that we should see her on the airshow circuit next year!

All images courtesy of David Charles Lindberg

F-86A Sabre - World's Oldest Jet - Flies Again

F-86A Sabre - World's Oldest Jet - Flies AgainF-86A Sabre - World's Oldest Jet - Flies Again