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A wonderful B-17 experience...


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This past April, my good friend and fellow Forum member John Ferguson invited me to tag along as he shuttled the B-17 named "The Movie - Memphis Belle" from Gillespie Field (east of San Diego) to Camarillo Airport (about 55 miles north of Los Angeles). I jumped at the opportunity!


For those of you who don't know John (aka: B-17 Guy) beyond his militaria collecting skills and shared knowledge here on the Forum, he's also an accomplished pilot. During his work-week, John is a full time corporate jet pilot...and on the weekends he's entrusted to fly numerous types of vintage warbirds at airshows and fund raisers across the country.


One of John's passions is donating his time and flying abilities to "The Liberty Foundation" which is a non-profit organization that raises money for severely wounded and disabled American Veterans, as well as preserving and sharing with the public their historic aircraft and aviation displays. (For more information, please visit www.libertyfoundation.org or call (918) 340-0243.)


Here's a picture of Captain John Ferguson in the left seat of the B-17 which starred in the 1990 release of "The Movie - Memphis Belle."



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As most of you know, the original Memphis Belle is now housed and displayed at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Museum near Dayton, Ohio. The original was a B-17 "F" model. At the time of the movie's production in 1988-1989, there were only eight air-worthy B-17's in the world. Five of those eight heavy bombers were contracted to be used in the movie and had to be modified to appear like the "F" model. Modifications included having their chin turrets removed; having tail turrets installed; and being painted olive drab green.


I understand the B-17 seen in these images was purchased by David Tallichet in 1982 and restored by

his company M.A.R.C. (Military Aircraft Restoration Corporation). It was flown to England, along with the other four contracted B-17's for filming, then returned to the United States where the Tallichet Family generously agreed to contract their airplane to the Liberty Foundation for fund-raising purposes.


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As if this adventure wasn't already thrilling enough, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) had one of their beautiful P-51's in San Diego which needed to be moved to Camarillo Airport for an upcoming event as well. So, we got a P-51 escort for the entire journey!



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