World War II bomber Memphis Belle soars and roars into Western Pa. sky
As smoke filled the runway and the engines of the Memphis Belle roared, Kyle Hinerman and his mother watched the plane, restored to resemble the iconic World War II bomber, soar into the sky from the Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin.
“It's amazing how they could still fly it today,” said 12-year-old Kyle, of Glassport.
Kyle and his mother Jackie, went to the airport Monday afternoon to spend time together and watch planes take off, but they were in for a surprise when they saw the enormous 1945 Boeing B-17G on the runway normally populated by small planes.
The Liberty Foundation gave rides and tours of its “Flying Fortress” to World War II veterans and the media Monday afternoon. It will be on display and available for tours and rides to the public on Saturday and Sunday.
Volunteers from the Liberty Foundation, a nonprofit based in Oklahoma, fly the plane that's insured for $5 million to more than 50 cities each year as a way to preserve World War II history and honor veterans, pilot Bob Hill said.
The Boeing B-17 is among just a handful of World War II aircrafts capable of flying the public. Most are displayed in museums.
Inside the plane, which appeared in the 1990 movie “Memphis Belle,” passengers can feel the engineer's roar, smell the gallons of gasoline it burns and learn about the missions of millions of veterans.
“It has one purpose: to put bombs on a target,” Hill said.
Two machine guns and rounds of bullets are inside the plane, next to a mock bomb.
After passengers strap themselves into green canvas seats for takeoff, they can walk across a rope bridge to the plane's cockpit.
For World War II veteran George Cahill, Monday's flight rekindled memories from his 28 missions aboard a B-17 during the war.
“I was right there in the nose, where everyone could shoot at me,” Cahill, 88, of Mt. Lebanon said.
Christina Gallagher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5637 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pennsylvania constables need oversight to reduce problems, officials say
- Pittsburgh Public Schools adopts no-tax-increase budget for 2015
- In Pittsburgh charges, feds target Uganda-based counterfeiting ring
- Portion of Baum Boulevard closed after bricks fall from building
- Pittsburgh student jailed after striking school police officer
- Newsmaker: Enrique Mu
- Investors eager to trade cash for green cards in immigration program
- Thanks to $75K grant, startup to bring food to underserved in Pittsburgh
- Pittsburgh Holocaust Center finally finds permanent home
- Man questioned in Penn Hills parents’ disappearance
- Peduto redefines post in just his 1st year as Pittsburgh’s mayor