Community
4:29 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Take Flight In The 'Memphis Belle,' A B-17 Bomber

The "Memphis Belle," a B-17 that was used in the 1990 WWII film of the same name, will be in Wichita this week.
The "Memphis Belle," a B-17 that was used in the 1990 WWII film of the same name, will be in Wichita this week.
Credit Jordan Kirtley

A bit of history will be flying over Wichita this coming weekend. An organization called the Liberty Foundation will be offering flights at Jabara Airport aboard its remodeled B-17 bomber, one that was used in the 1990 film “Memphis Belle.”

    

Although their remodeled aircraft didn’t see any action, the rumble of its engines is still authentic. Just ask Lewis Smith, a 90-year-old WWII veteran that flew 35 missions over Germany.

“The main thing I like about [this experience] is the sound of the engine, you just don’t hear stuff like that nowadays,” Smith says. “These engines, they’ve just got a beautiful roar, and when they get them synchronized, man, I just love that.”

Dr. Lewis Smith, a 90-year-old WWII veteran, stands beside the plane he flew in 35 missions.
Dr. Lewis Smith, a 90-year-old WWII veteran, stands beside the plane he flew in 35 missions.
Credit Jordan Kirtley

A native Wichitan, Smith says the plane brings back memories both bad and good. He came back from the war to start an optometry business in 1945 that is still open today.

The non-profit Liberty Foundation relies on volunteers to tour the country. Those wanting to experience a flight will get a chance this weekend, but it won’t come cheap - tickets are $450 a person.

For information on the Liberty Foundation and its "Memphis Belle" tour, click here

Below is the trailer from the 1990 film, "Memphis Belle"