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Air Force Museum Foundation

B-17F Memphis Belle™ to be placed on permanent display - May 17, 2018

One of the most recognizable symbols of World War II will once again report for duty exactly 75 years after its crew finished their last mission in the war against Nazi Germany on May 17, 1943. Plans call for the aircraft to be placed on permanent public display in the WWII Gallery of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on May 17, 2018.  The new exhibit surrounding the Memphis BelleTM will include interactive displays, rare archival film footage and many personal artifacts which have never been seen before by our visitors.

The famed B-17F Memphis Belle and its crew became iconic symbols of the heavy bomber crews and support personnel who helped defeat Nazi Germany. The Memphis Belle was the first U.S. Army Air Forces heavy bomber to return to the United States after completing 25 combat missions over Europe during World War II. The USAAF chose the aircraft for a highly-publicized war bond tour from June-August 1943, and its crew was celebrated as national heroes. The aircraft and crew were also the subject of two widely-seen Hollywood movies (one in 1944 and another in 1990).

The three-day celebratory event (May 17-19, 2018) will include three B-17 Flying Fortresses, six P-51 Mustangs, and three WWII-era trainer aircraft on static display; a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Memphis Belle and Strategic Bombing Exhibits; more than 160 WWII military and home front reenactors; 30 vintage military and civilian vehicles; a Big Band Concert; book signings; and both Memphis Belle films featuring guest speakers in the Air Force Museum Theatre. Activities will be both inside and outside the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

Click here for the Fact Sheet to learn more about the aircraft.

Memphis Belle™ Photos

Memphis Belle Presentations

Learn more about the B-17F Memphis BelleTM during free presentations titled "Memphis Belle - Dispelling the Myths". The programs will be presented by Dr. Harry Friedman of the Memphis Belle Memorial Association, and Jeff Duford Museum Curator. Dr. Friedman will speak about the Memphis Belle's missions overseas, its return to the U.S. and the time the aircraft spent in Memphis, Tenn. Mr. Duford will discuss the restoration of the aircraft as well as planning and construction of the new exhibit. These presentations will take place in the Carney Auditorium.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 1:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 19, 2018, 9:30 a.m.

Thursday, April 19, 2018, 1:30 p.m.

Three Day Event

The B-17F Memphis BelleTM will be placed on permanent public display on Thursday, May 17, 2018, with celebratory events on May 17-19, 2018.

The preliminary schedule of events is as follows:

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

7 a.m.                     Museum gate opens

8 a.m.-9 a.m.*       
B-17s, P-51s and trainer aircraft 

                              land on runway behind the museum**
(visitors may watch from Memorial Park)

9 a.m.-5 p.m.          Museum open

Thursday, May 17, 2018

8 a.m.                   Museum gate opens

9 a.m.-6 p.m.       Museum open

9:15-9:30 a.m.*     
B-17F Memphis BelleTM Exhibit
                              ribbon cutting and public opening

9 a.m.-4 p.m.       B-17s, P-51s and trainer aircraft
                             on static display
on the runway
                             behind the museum**

9 a.m.-4 p.m.     WWII reenactors and vehicles

6:30 p.m.          Living History Film Series ($)
“The Memphis Belle:  A Story of a
                         Flying Fortress” (1944)
                         in the Air Force Museum Theatre
                         (tickets required)

Friday, May 18, 2018

8 a.m.                 Museum gate opens

9 a.m.-5 p.m.     Museum open

9 a.m.-4 p.m.     B-17s, P-51s, and trainer aircraft
                             on static display
on the runway
                             behind the museum**

9 a.m.-4 p.m.     WWII reenactors and vehicles

4:30 p.m.*          B-17s, P-51s, and trainer aircraft
                           take-off from runway behind museum**

(visitors may watch from Memorial Park)

6-7:15 p.m.     Big Band Concert
featuring Glenn Miller music
performed by Air Force Bands
(free, no tickets needed - bring your own lawn chairs, refreshments available for purchase)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

8 a.m.               Museum gate opens

9 a.m.-5 p.m.     Museum open

9 a.m.-4 p.m.     WWII reenactors and vehicles

10:30 a.m.          Armed Forces Day Plane Talks
- 3:30 p.m.

throughout        WWII aircraft flyovers**

the day

4:30 p.m.            Living History Film Series ($)
“The Memphis Belle” (1990)
in the Air Force Museum Theatre
                             (tickets required)


Other activities throughout three-day event

Education Programs

Education Programs will take place in the Learning Center, STEM Learning Nodes, and WWII Gallery.
Visitors will be able to build, test and fly small balsa wood gliders to demonstrations on the four forces of flight. Children can complete a Ration Card Scavenger Hunt for a prize (while supplies last). Other activities will provide visitors with a better understanding on how aircraft like the B-17 Memphis Belle were able to perform its critical wartime missions. Other educational games will be available for the public to test their knowledge about the WWII era. (Interested schools and youth groups should contact the museum's Education Division at or (937) 255-4652).

Book Signings
Book signings will take place in the WWII Gallery
and the
Museum Store
“Memphis Belle:  Dispelling the Myths” Graham Simons and Harry Friedman
“Images of War” Graham Simons
“Shot Down” Steve Snyder
"My Father's War" Charley Valera

Food Options
Cafes will be available indoors 9 a.m. until one hour before closing. Food trucks will be available outdoors Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

*Time is approximate.

**Please note this is not an open fly-in. Wright Field is a closed runway and not open for general aviation use.

Details are still being finalized. Schedule is subject to change. Outdoor activities are weather dependent.

Media Registration

    Media interested in covering the events must register
    by Wednesday, May 9, 2018. Click here to register.

download a flyer

Download a flyer with event information.

-  Click here for an event flyer

-  Click here for a trifold brochure
     (8.5"x14" - double-sided)

Special Thanks


B-17 Aluminum Overcast

B-17 Yankee Lady

B-17 Movie Memphis Belle

six P-51 Mustangs
(pictures coming soon)

three WWII-era trainer aircraft
(pictures coming soon)

(Please note this is not an open fly-in. Wright Field is a closed runway and not open for general aviation use).


Air Force Band of Flight

Air Force Band of Mid-America


Betsy Bashore

Chris Kern

Participating Organizations

Grimes Field Airport


Champaign Aviation Museum


The Friendly Invasion (UK)


Memphis Belle Memorial Association/
Lausanne Collegiate School Website Project


Facebook Event Page

Click here to visit the Facebook page for this exciting event. Let us know if you are interested in going.

Featured Artifacts

Each week we will be featuring pictures of artifacts that will be included in the Memphis Belle Exhibit and the new USAAF Strategic Bombing in Europe Exhibit.  Click here to view these artifacts.

Where to stay

Accommodations could fill up fast as the date approaches, so if you plan to attend consider making your arrangements as soon as possible. This weekend will be a busy one in the Dayton area as Hamvention, the largest amateur radio convention in the world takes place beginning Friday, May 18. (Select the drop-down arrow in the boxes below for information on area lodging).

Memphis Belle™ Video Playlist

  • Restoration Info

    On March 14, 2018 the B17F Memphis Belle moved from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force’s Restoration Hangar to the museum’s World War II Gallery. Although the iconic aircraft is now inside the WWII Gallery, it will continue to remain out of public view until it is unveiled in a new exhibit following a ribbon cutting ceremony on the morning of May 17 - exactly 75 years after its crew finished their last mission in the war against Nazi Germany on May 17, 1943.

Security Notice

Please note that for security reasons, all bags are subject to search, and weapons are not permitted within the museum.  In addition, all adults may be asked to show their identification card upon entering the museum.

Note: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the National Museum of the USAF, the U.S. Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external website, or the information, products or services contained therein.