Take a spin over Long Beach or Burbank in a World War II B-17 bomber and get an inkling of what U.S. servicemen experienced during active duty. Passengers who board the vintage aircraft, called the Movie Memphis Belle, can tour the glass nose, cockpit, bomb bay and gunner stations while in the air.
"The flight in the B-17 is hands-on history, our heritage, not in mothballs or the pages of a dusty book," Scott Maher, director of operations for the Georgia-based Liberty Foundation, said in an email.
The foundation has restored the bomber and keeps the historic aircraft flying. The B-17 is one of more than 12,000 built by Boeing between 1935 and 1945; just 13, including this one, still fly.
It's an original, but it never was used in combat, though it has a Hollywood claim to fame, the foundation's website says. As a tribute to the original Memphis Belle, which was the first B-17 to log 25 missions, the plane has been painted in the same colors and bears the same artwork on the nose. This plane appeared in the 1990 movie "Memphis Belle."