The Murfreesboro Post, October 6, 2014
The Liberty Foundations 2014 Salute to Veterans tour will be arriving in the Nashville area at the Smyrna Airport on Monday Oct. 6.
On display will be the famous Boeing B-17 “Memphis Belle” celebrating the 71st anniversary of its historic last mission.
The Liberty Foundation’s B-17 “Memphis Belle” is one of only 13 B-17’s that still fly today. The B-17 dubbed the “Flying Fortress” as a result of her defensive fire power saw action in every theater of operation during WWII. The majority of all WWII B-17’s were operated by the 8thAirforce in Europe and participated in countless missions from bases in England deep into enemy territory. There were 12,732 B-17’s produced between 1935 and 1945, of these 4,735 were lost in combat. Following WWII, the B-17 saw combat in three more wars, B-17’s saw service in Korea, Israel used them in the war of 1948 and was even used during Vietnam.
“Memphis Belle” was built toward the end of the war and never saw any combat. It is painted in the colors and nose art of the original historic “Memphis Belle” B-17 that flew countless missions with the 91st bomb group of the mighty 8th Airforce, and was the first B-17 to complete 25 missions.
The Liberty Foundation’s B-17 provides visitors the opportunity to take a step back in time and gain respect for the men and women who gave so much to protect our freedoms. At each stop, flight “missions” are available in the Memphis Belle, which allow people to take flights in this historic aircraft. During flight operations, there will be a designated, secure area for those who would like to watch the aircraft flights at no charge
For enthusiasts who choose to take a flight experience on this legendary aircraft, these participants receive a pre-flight safety briefing containing the historical significance of the aircraft and a spectacular scenic air tour around the city. During the flight, passengers enjoy the unique opportunity of moving about the aircraft to the different combat crew positions to see the viewpoint that thousands of our heroes saw in combat over 60 years ago.
The B-17 flight experience takes 45 minutes with approximately half hour in flight. 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. While the cost to take a flight sounds expensive, it must be put into perspective when compared to the B-17’s operating cost. A Flying Fortress cost is more than $4,500 per flight hour. The Liberty Foundation spends over $1.5 million annually to keep the B-17 airworthy and out on tour.
The Liberty Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit flying museum and funds generated merely help offset these high cost. Only the public’s interest and other generous donations keep this historic aircraft flying and from being silenced permanently in a museum for years to come. Hopefully, for years to come!
This is your invitation to see, tour and fly a mission and take advantage of this ultimate historical experience, come touch the past and fly through ageless skies.
Public flights and ground tours will be available on Saturday and Sunday Oct. 11-12 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Public flights will begin in the morning with ground tours in the afternoon.
Anyone seeking information can call (918) 340-0243 or visit www.libertyfoundation.org.