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June 7, 2011 - 12:11am

Photos: The Memphis Belle at the county airport

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, history, County Airport, Memphis Belle, aircraft.

I got four emails from four different people this morning about a B-17 being parked at the Genesee County Airport.

It turns out it's been there almost a week. The plane is the Memphis Belle, a prop plane used in the movie of that name. Its proper home is the Geneseo Airport, but since that is a grass field, all the recent rains have made the runway too soggy for landing such a large bird.

The Memphis Belle is expected to depart some time Wednesday.

Brandon Burger
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I can't help but think of Randall Jarrell's poem "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" when I see these bombers: From my mother's sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
Howard B. Owens
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I always think of the opening of "The World According to Garp" (the book, not the movie).
Dave Olsen
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Man, that had to be some scary stuff in those old planes. Slow moving target and didn't have a very good mechanical history and the glide path of a brick. I have around 1500 hrs in P-3's under my belt, and let me tell you, those WW2 airmen were some hardy & brave dudes. I loved the movie, Memphis Belle and The World According to Garp (book) one of those books that the movie did not do justice too, I also think of a Stephen King short story about a cartoonist who was a crewman on a bomber in WW2, the landing gear is damaged, so just before they crash-land, he draws the plane with wheels on it and they land safely. There was a featurette movie made of that too, but I can't remember the name of it. Great poem too Brandon. Thanks guys.
Brandon Burger
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I think the featurette based on the Stephen King story was done for television as part of a show called "Amazing Stories." It was on in the 1980s and I can remember that the ball-turret gunner was trapped in the turret and that the wheels wouldn't lower. He furiously began to draw cartoon wheels on the plane and just as the plane was about to belly flop onto the tarmac, the cartoon wheels appeared and everyone was safe.
John Roach
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The Memphis Belle was here years ago for the air show at the airport There were two others and one was the "Texas'. I took the tour through the Belle and when inside, you saw how small it really was for 10 men, miles in the air. If you get a chance to go in it, take it.

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