B-17 roars into Fresno on barnstorming tour honoring WWII vets

The Fresno BeeApril 14, 2014 

The "Movie" Memphis Belle B-17 bomber flew into Fresno on Monday, part of its national barnstorming tour.

The nonprofit Liberty Foundation flies its Memphis Belle, built in Long Beach in 1945, to give people a glimpse into World War II history and honor WWII veterans. It will be on display for public tours and flights Sunday at Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

Monday was a promotional day, but it gave Memphis Belle crew members the chance to give Garrett Rickman, 90, of Fresno another ride on a B-17. He was a crew member on a similar heavy bomber during WWII.

The Liberty Foundation says its touring Memphis Belle is one of 13 B-17s still flying today out of more than 12,000 built in the World War II era.

The touring Memphis Belle is the one used in the 1990 movie of the same name.

If you go

What: Public display and flights of the "Movie" Memphis Belle B-17 bomber and the "Old Red Nose" P-51 Mustang WWII-era fighter plane.

When: Easter Sunday; flights begin at 10 a.m. with ground tours in the afternoon after flights have finished (exact time to be determined).

Where: Corporate Aircraft, 4885 E. Shields Ave. on the northwest edge of Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

Flight details: Flights in the Memphis Belle cost $410 for Liberty Foundation members, $450 for nonmembers. Allow 45 minutes; flight time is about 30 minutes. Flights in the P-51 cost $1,595 for members. Memberships are $40 and the discount can be applied to family and friends. The Liberty Foundation recommends advance reservations.

Ground tours: Free with a suggested donation. The Liberty Foundation says it spends over $1.5 million annually to keep the aircraft in flying shape and conduct the national tour.

Details, reservations: Call (918) 340-0243 or go to www.LibertyFoundation.org

Note: Both planes will be on display Saturday at Meadows Field in Bakersfield.

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