DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Boeing B-17 is the most famous bomber from World War II. Dubbed the “Flying Fortress”, it became even more famous in the 90s with the film Memphis Belle. Monday, that same plane will fly over Des Moines.
The movie “Memphis Belle” inaccurately credits the plane as the first B-17 to complete her tour duty of World War II. But officials say that shouldn’t take away from what these bombers achieved. The B-17 was known for her ability to take heavy combat damage. From 1935 to 1945 12,735 B-17s were produced. During the war B-17s dropped 640,036 tons of bombs on Europe. A typical mission lasted 8 hours. Veteran Clair Harper flew in the longest escorted bomber mission which was 1,600 miles round-trip. Harper recalls once returning safely to his base with 147 flack holes in his airplane.
The Memphis Belle will fly over Des Moines Monday at 11 a.m. It will be open to the public for flights and tours this Sunday at the Des Moines International Airport.