The ever-rising cost of insurance premiums of Memphis Belle, coupled with steadily rising fuel and labor costs have forced the hands of the board of trustees of the National Warplane Museum to cancel the lease on one of their best-known aircraft. The B-17 bomber that starred in the film Memphis Belle will be returned to its owners.
The B-17 at the Museum is not the actual plane, nicknamed Memphis Belle, that was the first heavy bomber to fly 25 combat missions over Europe without the loss of any crew members.
This B-17 took part in the eponymous Hollywood film in 1990.
The significant increase in the cost of spares, as well as the labor required to undertake the maintenance, along with the hourly burn thousands of dollars for fuel, made the plane an expensive part of their exhibits.
Bob Dauer, a spokesman for the Museum said the reason to return the plane was made solely for cost reasons.
The late cancellation of air shows also contributed to the Museum’s inability to continue shouldering the costs of keeping the plane. Air shows are a significant component of the revenue stream for the Museum.
Dauer went on to say that it takes a considerable amount of human labor to generate sufficient income to cover the costs associated with the plane.
The Museum is staffed with volunteer workers, and they could no longer raise adequate funds to maintain the Memphis Belle B-17.