JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- This weekend, there's an opportunity for you to go back in time and experience a true piece of history. The Memphis Belle is in town offering rides and tours.
Pilot John Hess knows all the history behind the famous plane. He said, "The B-17 was the heavy bomber for World War II."
He said the crew that manned the plane during World War II worked in extreme conditions. "They would be typically on an eight hour mission, at altitudes of 30,000 feet or above, and the temperatures there could be minus 50 or lower."
The original Memphis Belle made her mark in history as the first B-17 bomber to complete 25 missions. "Up until then," Hess said, "It was just so dangerous not many crews had ever been able to make 25 missions and survive."
The original plane was scrapped. And now, an authentic post-war B-17 bomber has been painted with the Memphis Belle pinup girl, and serves to keep its memory alive. The same plane that is at Cecil Field was used in the 1990 movie.
Now, it's offering rides over Jacksonville, as a part of the Liberty Foundation's "Salute to Veterans" tour. Hess said, "We just want to honor them and tell them how thankful we are for all they did because it was extremely dangerous."
Public flights are being offered Saturday and Sunday out of the Jacksonville Jetport. Flights are $450 per person. But if you simply want to take a tour plane, you can do that for a small donation to the Liberty Foundation, the non-profit organization that restored the Memphis Belle.
To schedule a flight and to learn more about the tours being offered, contact Scott Maher at (918) 340-0243. Or email him at email@example.com