Sunday, May 15, 2011

USAF Museum Series: Part 12

I thought it would be best to separate these photos from the ones I posted the other day. Yes, they're all from the same visit to the Restoration Hangars at the USAF Museum. However, these two aircraft are so special that I believe they deserve their own post.

The Swoose is the only B-17D remaining in existence. It flew in the Pacific theatre during WWII and provided personal transport for General George Brett. The museum acquired it in a swap with the Air & Space Museum a few years ago and will send them their current B-17G "Shoo Shoo Baby" when the Swoose's restoration is complete.

Do I even need to explain the significance of the other B-17 under restoration, the Memphis Belle? It's easily one of the most famous airplanes in aviation history. You've probably seen the movie and know the aircraft's history. It flew 25 combat missions over Europe with the 91st Bomb Group during WWII. Needless to say, it was incredible to stand next to this historic aircraft, to look inside, and to see the restoration in progress.

Replica gas caps being fabricated for the B-17s

Faded artwork on The Swoose

Replica lamp housings for the B-17 cockpits

The Memphis Belle

Names carved into the Belle's fuselage from when she was parked outside in TN

The Belle's wings

Wing root and engine mount

A collection of Wright R-1820 engines

Looking into the Belle through the open nose

The infamous Norden Bomb Sight

Lots of restoration remains but I can't wait until she's on display!

As always, just a reminder that you can access any of the posts in this series by clicking on the USAF Museum tag in the navigation bar to the right or at the bottom of the posts.


  1. Very cool! The graffiti on the B-17 makes my blood boil a little bit, though. We have the poseur-version (the -17 from the movie) based just outside of Rochester. It's still pretty cool to see - I crawled through it at the airshow last summer.

  2. ^ Wonderful photos from last summer!

  3. There's a guy restoring a B-17 in Marengo, IL. I'll bet he'll let you crawl through it for free, so long as you volunteer to buck a couple hundred rivets while you're there.

  4. Memphis Belle. I can't believe that you got to actually see and touch her. Thank goodness that these special aircraft are being saved and restored. Thank you for sharing your trip through the museum.