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Memphis Belle Update With Photos  
User currently offlineCaptOveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 7951 times:

I went on a tour of the restoration shop at the USAF museum (or whatever its called now) on Friday. I am sure quite a few people here are curious about the Belle's progress so here are photos. The target for completion is apparently about 10 years off still.

Sorry about the quality.. It was my first time with that camera and I didn't have nearly enough flash.

Forward Fuselage
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/matt45223/P7271082.jpg

Nose Art
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/matt45223/P7271089.jpg

Forward Fuselage Inside
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/matt45223/P7271084.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/matt45223/P7271094.jpg

Rear Fuselage inside
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/matt45223/P7271088.jpg

Ball turret
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/matt45223/P7271111.jpg

Instrument Panel
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/matt45223/P7271093.jpg

Wings
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/matt45223/P7271104.jpg

Engines
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/matt45223/P7271098.jpg

Misc parts
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v483/matt45223/P7271116.jpg

20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 1, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 7866 times:
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Great photos!

I'd love to see this thing restored and displayed properly. I saw it on Mud Island 7 years ago and it was a sad sight.

Our history needs items like this up for the younger generations to learn from.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineJohnJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1659 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 7850 times:

Great pictures, thanks for posting. I grew up in Memphis and in my youth saw her rotting away in front of the National Guard Armory on Central Avenue for years. Then they moved her out to the airport in a non-public area for a few more years before the Mud Island relocation. Her rededication at Mud Island was quite the event - a formation of flyable B-17s came over and dropped rose petals from their bomb bays. Too bad they didn't do things the right way and put her in an enclosed building. I understand the Mud Island years were rough on her.

My last glimpse of her was after she was moved out to Millington for restoration (I have a shot here on A.net of her in that state). I was disappointed when I heard she was moving up to Dayton, but in hindsight it's probably the best thing since Memphis apparently decided she wasn't important. New sports arenas are, after all, a far better use of public funds... (I say sarcastically).


User currently offlineEBJ1248650 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1932 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 7838 times:

Quoting CaptOveur (Thread starter):
I went on a tour of the restoration shop at the USAF museum (or whatever its called now) on Friday. I am sure quite a few people here are curious about the Belle's progress so here are photos. The target for completion is apparently about 10 years off still.

Sorry about the quality.. It was my first time with that camera and I didn't have nearly enough flash.

No apologies needed for the shots. Very nice photos. Keep up the good work.  Smile



Dare to dream; dream big!
User currently offlineFlyingbabydoc From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 7809 times:

Pardon my ignorance, but she will be restored to flying conditions? Or just to static display @ the USAF Museum?

Thanks

Alex


User currently offlineCaptOveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 7791 times:

Quoting Flyingbabydoc (Reply 4):
Pardon my ignorance, but she will be restored to flying conditions? Or just to static display @ the USAF Museum?

Due to the fame she will never fly again. When the restoration shop is done she probably could fly, but won't.


User currently offlineVenus6971 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1443 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 7784 times:

The USAF mueseum has a flyable B-17G, it was refurbed by the USAF reserve at Dover AFB an flown to Wright Pat. Most the acft on display were flown there, the acft I worked in my USAF career SAM 26000 could be probably flown out of there if need be. It would be nice after the Belle's reassembly that everything become operational and at least fire up the engines.


I would help you but it is not in the contract
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 7, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 7733 times:

Wow! Well done. Thanks for the pictures and the update.

I saw it sitting out at the airport many years ago and again on Mud Island in 1995. I bought Menno Duerksen's book that day and got him to sign it. Had an hour-long conversation with him about it. Always wanted to cross paths with Robert Morgan but never did.

I'm sorry it isn't in Memphis anymore but I guess that town isn't big enough for two major icons and they chose Graceland. Now we know it will still be around two hundred years from now.

Perhaps we could fund the restoration by selling into slavery, the writer, producer and director of that 1990 abomination of a movie.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineTexfly101 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 351 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 7668 times:

Wow, what memories this brings back. I was working on the restoration of the B-17 "Liberty Belle" with my dad at O-Reilly's back in the 90's and he told me stories of flying the Memphis Belle during a war bond tour after he returned home from Thurleigh, England during WWII. To him, it was a war weary relic that he was risking his life flying it in the States as much as he did in the ETO! (not the Belle, but his 306th ships). Anyway, great pics, they brought back a flood of memories. I can remember as I drilled out rivets to take apart the scabbed on nose for the test bed that was on the Liberty Belle that I was amazed at how little there stood between my dad and the Abbeville Kids when he and the Memphis Belle flew against them in 1943 out of England. Just a thin skin of aluminum and some stringers, wire cables attached to the yoke and pedals. I looked at him up on the flight deck, as he tried to see his set of rivets, failing eyesight and all, and then thought of him as a 19 year old Captain, going to war on a daily basis. He took on a different look for me. I then had a fleeting feeling of what it took to get in this machine and do what they all did. My pride for him, always high as I had read his war record, went up quite a bit to say the least. They were very brave men...all that lived and died in those pieces of flying history. I love the B-17, particularly the Memphis Belle, and take special pride in working for the company that made it.

User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6907 posts, RR: 46
Reply 9, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 7571 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 7):
Perhaps we could fund the restoration by selling into slavery, the writer, producer and director of that 1990 abomination of a movie.


I made the mistake of watching that abomination; shortly before I had seen a documentary shot on the real Memphis Belle that included the 25th mission. The only thing in common between the two was that they were both in a B-17. I've totally given up on Hollywood's ability to get anything historical anything close to right. The only good historical movie I've seen in at least 20 years was "The Passion of the Christ."

[Edited 2007-07-31 14:34:01]


The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlinePaladin87 From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 122 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 7418 times:

For all you b-17 lovers there is one in Grand Rapids MI this week through 8/5 giving rides for $400.00. Blew a tire on arrival closed the runway for a few hours.

User currently offlineTexL1649 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 296 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 7400 times:

Quoting Paladin87 (Reply 10):

LOL, Love the sales pitch;
"For 400 dollars you could be the first person killed in a B-17 crash-landing in 50 years!"

I'm not sure about some of the B-17's the flying with the CAF and similar outfits. There's one in particular with a yellow tail that comes to the shows in Texas that seems to need some TLC in lieu of sales runs. I love seeing them, but they are precious and deserve to be cared/maintained as such, or they should be kept safely on the ground.


User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6907 posts, RR: 46
Reply 12, posted (7 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 7386 times:

Quoting Paladin87 (Reply 10):
For all you b-17 lovers there is one in Grand Rapids MI this week through 8/5 giving rides for $400.00. Blew a tire on arrival closed the runway for a few hours.

If this is the Collings Foundation I hosted them twice when I ran the local airport, and got a ride on the B-17. I thought they did a pretty decent job with the planes, and did not observe any laxity on maintenance or anything else. It is a real challenge keeping those birds in the air.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineJetJeanes From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 1431 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (7 years 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 7129 times:

Wow im up on things i thought it was still here rotting on mud island


i can see for 80 miles
User currently offlineAGC525 From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 989 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (7 years 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 7078 times:

I heard about the horrible conditions in MEM and I'm glad to see it getting what she deserves at Wright-Pat.

Does anyone know what the markings mean to the right of the nose art (bombs, swatikas, stars, etc)?

Thanks in advance...



American Aviation: From Kitty Hawk to the Moon in 66 years!
User currently offlineKevinSmith From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (7 years 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 7069 times:

Quoting AGC525 (Reply 14):
(bombs, swatikas,

Bombs represent how many missions she flew. There are 25 bombs.

Swastikas I think are representatve of the number of enemy aircraft the crew shot down. Not a 100% on that


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6382 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (7 years 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 7058 times:

I'm amazed that the aircraft breaks down so neatly into subassemblies myself, personally  Smile You'd think that, for example, the wing spar was one continuous piece...my hat is off to the engineers at Boeing before and during WWII.


Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineCaptOveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (7 years 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 7022 times:

Also, the stars over the bombs indicate missions where Memphis Belle was the leader.

User currently offlineTexfly101 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 351 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (7 years 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 6964 times:

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 16):
I'm amazed that the aircraft breaks down so neatly into subassemblies myself,

Yes, it is amazing to see how the plane went together. As I stated in my previous post, I got to work on one and was basically doing deconstructing work as it was the B-17 that was used as the late 40's test bed for the P&W turbo props and others. You could easily see how they both designed and assembled it to be done in module manner. The nose module that held the flight deck was nothing that I expected. I was amazed at how little the fuselage structure depended on structural members and instead utilized the semi-monocoupe technique to use the skin as a structural member in itself in conjunction with just small stringers and formers that connected everything. Being a design engineer myself, its one thing to know the technique but to see it put into actuality in a war machine was impressive. It was a very lightly designed structure. The whole nose assembly really didn't have any truly visible structural members like a wing spar or center box did with their beams and boxes. It was kind of a minimalist framework skinned over to provide an aerodynamically efficient nose. So when they scabbed on the turbo prop on the Liberty Belle as a test bed, there was no real structural member forward to hang it off. They had to take two C-channels, snake them thru cutouts in the flight deck and bolt them onto the center body main spar. Consequently, since it had minimal torsional capability, a really long moment arm that they hung a big turbo prop off of, the whole cockpit assembly ended up twisted in response to the torque loads of the engine. I could visibly see the amount of twist that the cockpit sat at as a consequence.
One really cool thing was to sit in the pilot seats with my dad and hear him tell stories of what he and his crew did, what happened and what he saw as the memories came back. Things like, he told of getting hit by flack in the bottom of his shoe and instantly his leg ending up hanging over the yoke. Try sitting in a pilot's seat and get your leg up over the yoke. Can't be done. My hats off to Boeing's designers, workers, and machinists. Hats off to all of those WWII aircrews. Amazing men all of them.


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 19, posted (7 years 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 6827 times:

Quoting TexL1649 (Reply 11):
"For 400 dollars you could be the first person killed in a B-17 crash-landing in 50 years!"

Clever, but not accurate. Lots of people have been killed over the last fifty years in B-17 crashes including during the filming of the 1990 movie "about" the Memphis Belle. Worthy also of mention, Ray Elgin and John Bastian killed in the crash of the RR Dart-powered B-17 air tanker in 1970.

Quoting AGC525 (Reply 14):
Does anyone know what the markings mean to the right of the nose art (bombs, swatikas, stars, etc)?

Well, this answer is right:

Quoting KevinSmith (Reply 15):
Swastikas I think are representatve of the number of enemy aircraft the crew shot down.

And this:

Quoting KevinSmith (Reply 15):
Bombs represent how many missions she flew. There are 25 bombs.

And this one but it leaves another question open:

Quoting CaptOveur (Reply 17):
Also, the stars over the bombs indicate missions where Memphis Belle was the leader.

Some of the stars are red and others are yellow. I believe Menno told me that denoted the level of lead it held; whether it led the squadron or the group. Something like that and I am not sure of exact nomenclature there.

My favorite: What color is the bathing suit on the George Petty nose art?

Answer is blue on the left side and red on the right side.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineCaptOveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (7 years 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 6769 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 19):
Some of the stars are red and others are yellow. I believe Menno told me that denoted the level of lead it held; whether it led the squadron or the group. Something like that and I am not sure of exact nomenclature there.

You are correct. The tour guide who did not know his elbow from a crescent wrench hit on that fact and it made sense. One was for leading the squadron, one for the group. I can't recall which and I don't feel motivated to do the research.


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