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Long-awaited display of restored Memphis Belle set for 2018

In this May 23, 2017 photo, at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, new propellers wait to be installed as part of the restoration of the World War II B-17 bomber known as the Memphis Belle near Dayton, Ohio. The restored plane will go on public display at the museum spring 2018. (AP Photo/Mitch Stacy)

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Memphis Belle, the fabled World War II bomber, goes on display next spring at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

Its journey from the flak-ridden skies over occupied France and Germany to restoration and display in the Ohio museum has been long for one of the most celebrated American planes to survive the war.

After years of delays, an unveiling of the restored B-17F “Flying Fortress” is scheduled for May 17, 2018 — the 75th anniversary of the crew’s 25th and final mission.

The Memphis Belle and its leggy Esquire magazine pinup girl painted on its nose survived six months of punishing air combat in 1942-43. The crew and plane then embarked on a highly publicized tour of the U.S. to help sell war bonds.

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