Check out our video footage of the landing and interviews with museum officials below!
GENESEO – The newest addition to the National Warplane Museum’s fleet of historic restored aircraft promises to be a big attraction not only for the museum but for Geneseo and Livingston County.
The ‘Movie Memphis Belle’ portrayed the fabled ‘Memphis Belle,’ one of the first B-17 United States Army Air Force heavy bombers to complete 25 combat missions with her crew intact, in the 1990 movie Memphis Belle. She still flies, and will be a centerpiece at the 2016 airshow at the National Warplane Museum.
“We’re really excited about the momentum that this will continue to build for visitation not only to the museum but to Geneseo and Livingston County,” said Elissa Leuer of the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Office at a press conference on Friday. “It is not only as an attraction in itself, but extending overnight visits for those who are coming to the county, visiting Letchworth state park and looking for other attractions.”
The National Warplane Museum cared for the ‘Movie Memphis Belle from the mid 1990’s to 2013, when she was transferred to the care of another flight group in Georgia. Due to diligent work by museum volunteers like Mike Lindsay, Director of Planning and Government Affairs and Media Relations Director Dawn Schaible, pilot Craig Johnson, Board of Directors member Dick Ash, and president Austin Wadsworth, she has returned to take up permanent residency in Geneseo.
David LeFeber, Vice-Chair of the Livingston County Board of Supervisors and Supervisor for the Town of Avon, said added that the ‘Movie Memphis Belle’ is a reminder of the sacrifices of the men and women who flew these planes into battle in WWII.
“It’s a great piece of history that we have,” said LeFeber. “I know oftentimes through the year when I’m out working in the fields, I happen to look up and see the planes out flying and it reminds me of the greatest generation and what they fought for years ago. I’m so proud that we do have it here in the county.”
Austin Wadsworth, President of the National Warplane Museum, thanked the museum’s volunteers and Dick Ash of CP Ward and Livingston Associates for making it possible to obtain the plane. Ash provided bulldozers and drivers to move 5,000 tons of snow from the runway and taxiway before the plane could land.
Wadsworth also thanked the Tallichet family, the owners of the ‘Movie Memphis Belle,’ who have entrusted the museum to care for her indefinitely as her official operators.