WWII B-17 'Flying Fortress' in skies over Seattle

Associated Press
King Co. Sheriff Deputy Guy Herndon inspects the front gun turret of a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress" bomber Monday, May 5, 2014, as the plane sits parked in Renton, Wash., near Seattle. The recreated model of the "Memphis Belle" World War II airplane will be available for paid rides and donation-based ground tours on May 10-11, 2014 at the Renton Municipal Airport in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

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RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The original "Memphis Belle" was the first heavy bomber of World War II to successfully complete 25 missions — dropping bombs over Germany, France and Belgium — while bringing all of her crew members back safely.

Now, a Boeing B-17 restored to resemble the famous "Flying Fortress" is visiting Seattle.

The B-17 that's in Seattle this week was built toward the end of the war and didn't see combat. But it's been painted to look like the historic "Memphis Belle" and is outfitted with gun turrets front and rear, as well as a lower ball gun turret. The nonprofit Liberty Foundation says it is one of only about a dozen B-17s still flying.

The Liberty Foundation is touring with the plane and a P-51 Mustang fighter, selling flights on the historic planes to pay for their upkeep.

The original "Memphis Belle" is undergoing restoration at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

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