Air Force museum gears up for opening of Memphis Belle exhibit

(Photo: WKEF/WRGT)

RIVERSIDE, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - The iconic B-17F Memphis Belle is being celebrated in the birthplace of aviation as it's put on permanent display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

The display will be open to the public exactly 75 years after the crew finished their last mission against Nazi Germany in World War II. The three-day event gets underway Thursday, May 17 as the B-17 Flying Fortresses and six P-51 Mustangs will be on display at the base.

The day before the exhibit opens, on May 16, planes will land on the runway behind the museum. Planes will lane between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and visitors can watch from Memorial Park.

On Thursday, May 17, museum gates will open at 9:00 a.m. and at 9:15, the ribbon will be cut for the B-17F Memphis Belle exhibit, officially opening it to the public. Throughout the day there will be WWII reenactors as well as vintage military vehicles on display. You can see a full schedule of events here.

Parking information below:

If you'll be at the exhibit opening or watching the planes fly in, share your pictures with us on Burst.

The Memphis Belle has been at the museum since 2005 and since then, workers have been restoring it. It's a process they've called a labor of love. The plane, which is one of the most popular from World War II, was the first of the U.S. Army Air Force's heavy bombers to return to the United States after completing 25 missions over Europe.

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