Memphis Belle

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Memphis Belle movie poster.

Movie (1990)

Matthew Modine (Capt. Dennis Dearborn)
Eric Stoltz (Sgt. Danny "Danny Boy" Daly)
Tate Donovan (1st Lt. Luke Sinclair)
D.B. Sweeney (Lt. Phil Lowenthal)
Billy Zane (Lt. Val "Valentine" Kozlowski)
Sean Astin (Sgt. Richard "Rascal" Moore)

It's May 1943 at a US Air Force base in England. The four officers and six enlisted men of the Memphis Belle - a B-17 bomber so nicknamed for the girlfriend of its stern and stoic captain, Dennis Dearborn - will soon start their twenty-fifth mission, having completed their previous twenty-four successfully with nary an incident, while fewer and fewer other planes are coming back from their missions at all. If they complete their next mission successfully, they will be the first US Air Force squad to complete their tour of duty.
NOTE : Most of the American aircraft worn two identities to provide more visual evidence of numerous planes despite the limited airworthy airframe available 45 years after the facts.

Douglas C-47 Skytrain

MB89 C-47.jpg

Boeing B-17F-70-BO Flying Fortress

Reg. N17W Boeing B-17F-70-BO c/n 4896 s/n 42-29782 (first civil registration as N6015V).
N17W flew in the guise of C-Cup DF*X / 124299 during filming but also took on the guise of DP*X / 124289. During the take off section of the movie, N17W is shown wearing nose art as Clooney Baby and Buck Aroo.
After restoration and a second 'first flight' was touring airshows between 1998 and 2003 as Boeing Bee. Now on static display at the Museum Of Flight, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
Same aircraft in other movies at IMPDb: Frequently Seen Aircraft (Military Fixed-Wing).

Reg.N17W Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress of the USAAF.

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress

All have been put close to B-17F standard.
The shooting could not have been done without the help of the Imperial War Museum whith its B-17G Mary Alice donating an engine to replace a failed engine.

Reg. N3703G Boeing B-17G c/n 32187 s/n 44-83546 built by Douglas. Once her fire fighting life ended, was painted as 23060 / LN*T. In 1989, her new suit was 124485 / DF*A Memphis Belle of the USAAF (it seems this is her sole movie job). Still (2017) airworthy and with this identity despite a taxi accident (and following repair) in November 1995.

Reg. N3703G Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress Memphis Belle of the USAAF.

Reg. G-BEDF B-17G-105-VE c/n 8693 s/n 44-85784. Sold to IGN (Institut Geographique National, France) in 1959 and registered as F-BGSR until 1975. N17TE then british registry in 1979. Flown as 22960 / DF*M Sally B (port) and Memphis Belle (starboard). Keep this name in airshows despite her chin turret is again in place (still airworthy with the B-17 Preservation Trust Ltd., Duxford, U.K. in 2022).
Same aircraft in other movies at IMPDb: Frequently Seen Aircraft (Military Fixed-Wing).

Reg. G-BEDF Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress Sally B. of the USAAF.

Reg. F-AZDX Boeing B-17G-85-VE c/n 8246 s/n 44-8846 The Pink Lady ex F-BGSP Groenlandia 79 of IGN (1954-1985).
The Pink Lady is acting as DF*S Mother and Country.
Last airshow at "The Flying Legends" (Duxford, UK) air display on 12 & 13 July 2008 with a dual nose art : Mother and Country (port) and The Pink Lady artwork (starboard).
Still airworthy but rise of gazoline and insurance costs led to be kept in a hangar at La Ferté-Alais (LFFQ) where she's the queen of AJBS flying museum.


Reg. F-BEEA Boeing B-17G-100-VE c/n 8552 s/n 44-85643 ex (France) IGN Chateau de Verneuil acting as Baby Ruth of the USAAF with multiple identities : s/n 228651 / DF*U or 124292 / DF*E. Was destroyed during take off accident in filming on 25 July 1989. No fatalities but the ensuing fire left only the tail (wearing the serial 228651).
Was used for aerial shooting for Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb ... and so not visible on the film.

Reg. F-BEEA Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress of the USAAF.

North American P-51D Mustang

Seven Mustang were on duty for this movie. At the time of Memphis Belle, escorts were done by P-47 Thunderbolt.
Paint scheme and code AJ as used by the 356th Fighter Squadron (but not before June 1943).

Three P-51D Mustang along two B-17.
The little friends turning towards the bandits.

Reg. N51JJ s/n 44-73149 (44-63221 for filming), AJ-S, "Moose" on the left side of the nose, "Candyman" on the right side of the nose.

(top) AJ-S.

Others Mustang are :

  • reg. G-BIXL s/n 44-72216, AJ-L, "Miss L";
  • reg. G-SUSY s/n 44-72773, AJ-C, "Susy" (name not worn for filming);
  • reg. N167F s/n 44-73877, AJ-N, "Cisco" -look at IMPDb: Frequently Seen Aircraft (Military Fixed-Wing)-;
  • reg. N314BG s/n 44-14154, HO, "Petie 2nd";
  • reg. NL1051S s/n 45-11371, VF-S, "Sunny VIII";
  • reg. G-HAEC CAC CA-18 Mk.22 A68-195 (44-72917 for filming), AJ-A, "Ding Hao!", another IMPDb: Frequently Seen Aircraft (Military Fixed-Wing).
    CAC stands for Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation which licensed built 120 Mustang in Australia (after assembling 80 airframes from subparts as CA-17 Mk 20).

This last aircraft was lost on July 2011 after a collision with the French Skyraider F-AZDP at the Duxford Flying Legends airshow.

Hispano HA-1112-M1L

Three of these Messerschmitt licenced built by spannish Hispano Aviaçion have been used for the movie. One of them flew for the movies Battle of Britain, The Tuskegee Airmen and the british TV serie “Piece of Cake” (TV series).IMPDb: Frequently Seen Aircraft (Military Fixed-Wing).
They are :

  • G-BOML (c/n 170) actually wearing Gruppe (chevron) markings and 60+ tally scoreboard on the rudder. The famous Mark Hanna died at its controls ten years later on 25 September 1999 at Sabadell Airport, 20 km to Barcelona, Spain;
MB Ha1112 Buchon-side.JPG
MB89 Bf109b.jpg
  • G-HUNN black 14, c/n 235 built in 1958;
  • D-FEHD black 15 (c/n 213) with a four blade propeller. Later converted to Bf 109G-10 with a DB605 engine:
Hispano HA-1112-M1L seen as Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Bf 109.
MB Ha1112 Buchon.JPG

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