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It’s called the Flying Fortress and soon after her first flight on July 28 of 1935, the B-17 bomber became a symbol of the U.S.’ fighting power in WWII.

Now, the restored Memphis Belle–the first B-17 to complete her tour of duty during WWII–will be visiting Long Beach in order for the public to have an up-and-close and personal visit with the plane both on the ground and in the sky.

Out of a staggering 12,732 B-17s produced between 1935 and 1945, the Belle B-17G is one of only 14 other B-17s that still fly to this day. Initially sold as scrap in 1947 to a mining company postwar, it was then sold to Pratt & Whitney for some $2,700 to use as a test bed for their prop engines. Following damage in a tornado, the wrecked aircraft was restored over the course of five years, from 1987 to 1992. After being discovered by the Liberty Foundation, a nonprofit museum, the aircraft then underwent a full, fourteen-year restoration and took flight once again 2004.

As part of the Liberty Foundation’s Salute to Veterans tour, the hopes are to connect visitors with the plane that helped the 390th bomb group of the 8th Airforce in Europe achieve notoriety.

The B-17 flight experience takes place this Saturday, March 30, at Long Beach Airport. The experience is 45 minutes with approximately a half-hour in flight time and a 15 minute history briefing. B-17 Flights are $410 for Liberty Foundation members and $450 for non-members. Passengers can become a Liberty Foundation Member for $40 and receive the member discount for family and friends. For more information and tickets, click here.


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