CaptOveur
Topic Author
Posts: 6064
Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 3:13 am

Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:27 pm

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
Things were better when it was two guys in a dorm room.
 
dl021
Posts: 10836
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 12:04 pm

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:52 pm

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?
 
JohnJ
Posts: 1362
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2000 5:01 am

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:49 pm

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).
 
ebj1248650
Posts: 1517
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:17 am

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:25 pm

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!
 
flyingbabydoc
Posts: 1059
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2005 6:12 pm

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Tue Jul 31, 2007 12:40 am

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

Thanks

Alex
Marriage is the art of turning a lover into a relative
 
CaptOveur
Topic Author
Posts: 6064
Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 3:13 am

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:13 am

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.
Things were better when it was two guys in a dorm room.
 
Venus6971
Posts: 1415
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2004 1:55 pm

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:21 am

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
 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Tue Jul 31, 2007 4:08 am

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.
 
texfly101
Posts: 343
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 6:42 am

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:46 am

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 avatar
SEPilot
Posts: 4960
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:21 pm

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:33 pm

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
 
paladin87
Posts: 122
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 9:41 am

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:49 pm

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.
 
texl1649
Posts: 337
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:38 am

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Sat Aug 04, 2007 1:13 am

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 avatar
SEPilot
Posts: 4960
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:21 pm

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Sat Aug 04, 2007 2:13 am

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
 
jetjeanes
Posts: 897
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 6:42 am

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Sun Aug 26, 2007 3:06 pm

Wow im up on things i thought it was still here rotting on mud island
i can see for 80 miles
 
AGC525
Posts: 956
Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2004 9:50 am

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:37 pm

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!
 
KevinSmith
Posts: 626
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 9:08 am

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:48 pm

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
Learning to fly, but I ain't got wings.
 
KELPkid
Posts: 5247
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:33 am

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Mon Aug 27, 2007 12:55 am

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 :-)
 
CaptOveur
Topic Author
Posts: 6064
Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 3:13 am

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:56 am

Also, the stars over the bombs indicate missions where Memphis Belle was the leader.
Things were better when it was two guys in a dorm room.
 
texfly101
Posts: 343
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 6:42 am

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:25 am

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.
 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:29 am

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.
 
CaptOveur
Topic Author
Posts: 6064
Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 3:13 am

RE: Memphis Belle Update With Photos

Fri Aug 31, 2007 1:20 am

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.
Things were better when it was two guys in a dorm room.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: angad84 and 8 guests