Dr. Rebecca Hodges, Miller Johnston ’23, and Wyatt Burnham ’22 traveled to see the Memphis Belle, the famous B-17 bomber from WWII, at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. As part of the “Spring Into Flight” trip, we explored the past, present, and future of aviation. We were joined by Memphis Belle Memorial Association and Germantown City Historian Andrew Pouncey and his wife and were met by Roger Deere, in charge of Restoration of the Belle at the National Museum.
Our trip included:
- the National Museum of the US Air Force with a tour of the official exhibit of the Memphis Belle WWII bomber
- The Wright Brothers National Museum
- Dayton Aviation Heritage at Carillon Park
- Boonshoft Museum of Discovery
- 3 flight simulators
- Aeronautics careers tour at Wright State University
- “Area D” and “Viral Outbreak” Escape Rooms
The Wright Brothers museum and bicycle shop at Carillon Park is a replica of Wilbur and Orville’s fifth and final store, resembling how the Wright brothers’ store would have appeared between mid-October to mid-December 1901. The museum has more Wright artifacts on display than any other place in the world, including the 1905 Wright Flyer.
The “Memphis Belle” and her crew represent all the planes and crews of the 8th Army Air Force fighting in the European Theater of Operations. The bombers of the USAAF undertook daylight precision bombing and often faced dramatic losses. B-17 “Flying Fortresses” used Norden bombsights and were able to fly at high altitudes due to their innovative superchargers, completing 25 wartime missions. The Memphis Belle moved to Memphis in July 1946 after a nationwide tour, but moved to the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, in October 2005. That exhibit opened last May, 2018. Lausanne partnered with the Memphis Belle Memorial Association in 2011 to build a digitized primary source archive of Memphis Belle photographs, letters, and newsprint. This community connection may offer behind-the-scenes tours and talks with the museum exhibit curators.
All trip participants will become featured web producers on MemphisBelle.org for their “Spring into Flight: Past, Present, and Future of Aviation” travel blog.