PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Weekend visitors to Allegheny County Airport will get a chance to see the “Memphis Belle.”
The Liberty Foundation is offering free tours as well as paid flights on the B-17, to keep it flying.
The story of the legendary bomber was re-told on movie screens in 1990.
The B-17 used in that film now sits on the rain soaked tarmac at the county airport.
World War II veteran Stan Lantz of Butler also completed 25 missions, on a different B-17.
“I’ll say this,” he says. “I was in the right airplane.”
The tough, durable B-17, known as the Flying Fortress, had the fire power to shoot back at enemy aircraft.
In 1943, the crew of the Memphis Belle was the first to survive 25 missions over Germany, unscathed.
That was two years before 18-year-old Glantz completed 25 missions in the harrowing skies over Berlin.
He was a waist gunner, with a clear view of the tragedy that surrounded him.
“I saw ten bombers go down at one time,” he recalls. “Ten of them. On fire.”
He says he had a charmed life.
“Your life depended on luck. A lot depended on whether you were picked on or not.
If a fighter came in, if he picked on your airplane, you were dead. You were going down.”
Despite the dark memories of war, Stan Glantz has an affection for the B-17.
“One thing you notice right off the bat, is how in the world did you get through this airplane?
Like getting through that catwalk in the bomb bay.
You know I have to squeeze through there now. And I used to run through there!”
The plane he flew in was called “Lady be Good.” And she was. 25 times, the the Flying Fortress brought him home.
For more information on free tours and paid flights click here.